Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, with the help of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will use technology to encourage the use of bicycles. The announcement was made at the first Bicitón, a hackathon to understand urban mobility and encourage the use of cycling as a mode of transport in Montevideo.
“From the municipality we foster the use of the bicycle because it reduces pollution and helps a healthier life,” said Daniel Martinez, Mayor of Montevideo. “For us, the bicycle is the second level of importance. First the pedestrian, then the bike and third public transport.”
Several teams participated in the technology workshop using open data to present applications that can improve the cycling movement in cities. Pedaleapp, the winner, received a US$5,000 prize from the IDB. Another USD$5,000 will be used to incubate the product, with the support and tracking of the Enlace space.
“In addition, we must work for a cultural change because there are still segments of society that do not have a positive attitude towards the bicycle,” said Martinez. “That will change along with the existing infrastructure, which seeks interconnectivity between the bicisendas [bike lanes]. The municipality uses intelligence and creativity through activities like this to improve the quality of life of citizens.”
Plan for 2020
The Mobility Plan of Montevideo seeks to consolidate the use of the bicycle as a sustainable mode of transport and ensure the continuous and safe circulation in the city, in addition to the Metropolitan Transportation System.
Currently, the bicycle represents 2.4 percent of Montevideo’s modal split, and the challenge of the Intendencia (City Hall) is to increase it considerably by 2020.
In Latin America, the cities with the highest number of kilometres of cycle paths in their urban infrastructure are Bogota (392 km), Rio de Janeiro (307 km), Sao Paulo (270.7 km), Santiago (236 km) and Buenos Aires (130 km).
“The IDB supports this initiative because it wants a modern, green Montevideo,” said Morgan Doyle, IDB representative in Uruguay. “There are many cities in Latin America that use bikes. Why can’t Montevideo aim to have half a million trips a day? We believe that it is possible to have more human, liveable, modern and less polluted cities.”