Towards multi-modal integrated mobility systems: Views from Panama City and Barranquilla

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - south america, mode - bus rapid transit, planning - service quality, planning - surveys, policy - sustainable, ridership - perceptions, ridership - behaviour, organisation - performance, organisation - management, planning - integration


BRT systems, Caribbean cities, Stakeholders' engagement, Intermodal systems, Social sustainability


This paper undertakes the assessment of the bus transport systems of two port cities in the Caribbean, the BRT system Transmetro in Barranquilla, and Metrobus, a ‘light’ BRT system, in Panama City. Although the systems have different contexts, design and operational characteristics, they have in common that over the last years their service quality has deteriorated, leading to negative users' perception and consequently decrease in patronage levels. Understanding these problematic factors is key for the mobility of these cities as they are both planning to expand their systems and consolidate multi-modal integrated transport systems in the upcoming years. Through a series of interviews with several stakeholders from institutions related to the mobility sector in each city our analysis identifies aspects of conceptual design, planning and implementation of institutional, operational, financial and management frameworks that might have been preventing the systems from achieving a better performance. Moreover, our analysis highlights two factors embedded at the core of the systems' difficulties: First, BRT technology transfer with limited understanding of context and little adaptation to local user's expectations and preferences; and second, design criteria that address financial requirements at the expense of quality of service for people's needs.


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


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