An innovative transit system and its impact on low income users: the case of the Metrocable in Medellín

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - south america, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, mode - other, mode - mass transit, policy - equity, policy - social exclusion


Equity, Land use/transport, Social exclusion, Accessibility, Metrocable


The Metrocable in Medellín, Colombia, is an innovative system to improve access to deprived areas located in hilly zones. The idea to use cable cars as feeders to the metro was integrated into an ambitious urban project that, to date, has improved accessibility dramatically for some low-income residents. Using data before and after the project’s implementation, we evaluate the impact on social equity for the population in the zone of influence, considering changes in accessibility to employment and in housing-related costs. The access provided by the project to the main high-employment centres has doubled the number of opportunities that can be reached by the “target population,” even though travel-time savings and costs have seen only small changes. In fact, prior access to the CBD was poor and expensive, but time and costs were reduced with the Metrocable, although this reduction was not equal for all locations in the metropolitan area. In general, we argue that the main benefits, in terms of accessibility that differentiates the areas analysed from those used for comparison, are related to a localised ease of access to specific centres of activity according to the centralised development of the city’s job market along the mass transit lines. In terms of housing costs, we developed a set of difference-in-difference models that considered rent, transport, and public utilities costs; however, none of them have allowed us to conclude that there was a statistically valid relationship between the Metrocable and the changes in costs between the two analysed populations.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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