2017: Santiago, Chile


Santiago, the Chilean capital with an urban population of five million, and a metro area population of over seven million, is a beautiful old-world city enjoying a modern day renaissance. In 2006, the city opened
Transantiago, an efficient service and the backbone of its transport system, but has  since lagged behind other cities in the region on cycling and walking.

Over the past year, Santiago made major improvements in pedestrian space, cycling, and public transit. Miguel Olivares, left, accepted the award at the ceremony in Washington, DC on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017.  The program included a keynote address from Laura Ballesteros, Undersecretary of Planning in Mexico City. 

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Santiago’s Calle Aillavilú, in the central market of the city, has been transformed from a derelict, car-congested and unregulated parking lot to a pedestrian-friendly oasis. The street was repaved, the lighting improved, new trees were planted, and most importantly, cars were removed. Except for the scheduled delivery of goods, no motorized traffic is allowed. Calle Placer, one of the busiest pedestrian streets during a popular weekend market, is now completely closed to cars on the weekends, with a 2.2 million USD investment by the city for improved sidewalks, lighting, and sanitation.

Other public space improvements include an investment in 100 sq meters of new green spaces in historic residential neighborhoods, revitalizing a previously abandoned area, and the re-design of the Historical Center’s main streets, featuring more sidewalk space, improved lighting, beautification, and a “complete streets” redesign for public transport exclusive corridors in the most active pedestrian zone in the country.

The City has backed up these achievements with new sustainable transport policy changes and education programs. Santiago adopted a detailed standard of design for high quality cycle lanes, which redistributes road spaces to create more space for cyclist. As a result, the city has managed to increase cycling trips from a negligible 150 per day to over 5000 per day. This number is expected to increase with the growing popularity of BikeSantiago, the city’s bike share program, responsible for 50% of the increase. Santiago also gave support to BMov Trici, a free bicycle taxi in the historic city center operated by a private company, supported by advertising, that encourages cycle use and provides a non-motorized alternative to taxis. Santiago has adopted a pilot program of cycling games in kindergarten to help introduce cycling early in life and a traffic education program at primary schools is helping create better cyclist behavior.

Click here to view our case study on Santiago Chile.