Urban Transformations and Health: Methods for TrUST - a Natural Experiment Evaluating the Impacts of a Mass Transit Cable Car in Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia (2018-2020)

Project Goal

  1. Use citizen science methods to identify, prioritize, and communicate the most salient negative and positive features impacting health and quality of life in TransMiCable's area
  2. Facilitate a consensus and advocacy-building change process among community members, policymakers, and academic researchers.

Guiding Question

What aspects of this neighborhood make it easier and more difficult for you to live a healthy life?

Project Description

The TrUST research project seeks to understand how the TransMiCable cable car and its accompanying urban transformations impact the health of citizens. Cable cars provide urban mobility benefits for vulnerable populations. However, no evaluation has assessed cable cars' impact from a health perspective. TransMiCable in Bogotá, Colombia, provides a unique opportunity to assess the effects of its implementation on the environmental and social determinants of health (microenvironment pollution, transport accessibility, physical environment, employment, social capital, and leisure time), physical activity, and health outcomes (health-related quality of life, respiratory diseases, and homicides). 

Prior to Inauguration of TransMiCable

  • More than 90% of trips made by residents of Ciudad Bolívar were by public transport (Baldovino-Chiquillo et al, 2023).
  • Self-reported mean travel time during mandatory trips (one way) was 110·0 min (SD 67·3) among participants in Ciudad Bolívar (Baldovino-Chiquillo et al, 2023).
  • Satisfaction with public transportation in Ciudad Bolívar was surveyed to be 4.4/10 (Rubio et al, 2023).
  • Many residents in Ciudad Bolívar felt “anxious” and “tired” when they had to take the bus up north to work.
  • In 2018, the annual average concentration of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) in Ciudad Bolivar was 20μg/m3, which exceeds the annual standard allowed by the World Health Organization. Past public transportation options have contributed to this pollution.
  • In 2007, community leaders in Ciudad Bolívar pushed for the construction of the aerial cable car inspired by the cable car in Medellín, Colombia.
  • This mobilization was fundamental for the construction of the project (Guevara-Aladino, 2022).


Outcomes After the Construction of TransMiCable

  • The main expectations of the TransMiCable focused on reducing travel time, improving safety (in the vehicle), and improving comfort on the journey. After the implementation of the cable car, these expectations were exceeded (Guzman et al, 2022).
  • The mean travel time for mandatory trips decreased to 90·2 min (SD 53·9; n=398) among participants in Ciudad Bolívar (Baldovino-Chiquillo et al, 2023).
  • Exposure to PM2.5, eBC (soot) and CO (carbon monoxide) in TransMiCable cabins is lower than in the other transport microenvironments (feeder, SITP or informal vehicles) (Morales Betancourt et al, 2023)
  • The inhaled dose per trip is lower when using the TransMiCable.
  • Satisfaction with public transportation in Ciudad Bolívar rose from 4.4/10 to 5.4/10 (Rubio et al, 2023)
  • The percentage of people who report low or no trust in the government decreased from 93% to 87%.
  • Among TransMiCable users, levels of distrust in neighbors decreased from 62% to 58%. 


Citizen Scientist Perspectives

  • “The implementation of TransMiCable and urban renewal are ways to reduce segregation, bringing the community closer to the rest of the city.”
  • “The TransMiCable is fundamental because around here everything was totally abandoned by the entities. But now, it's very nice to have a better quality of life "
  • “This intervention increased access to services offered by the city of Bogotá (e.g. Manzanas del Cuidado service for unpaid care workers)”.

People and Collaborators

Project Lead: 



Our Voice Impact

"This experience has changed my life.  I see inadequacies everywhere I go as it relates to pedestrian access and safety.  I even stop [at] construction sites to remind them to be considerate of the handicapped in our community.  Thank you all so much for this awareness and empowerment to require change."

~ Pam Jiner, GirlTrek Advocacy Leader, Denver CO