26 August 2020

Supporting the creation of a Regional Transport Authority: the CODATU cooperation in Cali comes to and end

CODATU led from February 2019 to July 2020 a technical cooperation in partnership with the French Development Agency (on FEXTE funds) in Cali, Colombia around the governance of mobility at the metropolitan scale. The objective of this cooperation was to support local authorities in structuring a “Regional Transport Authority” (ART) for Cali and its area of ​​influence. This cooperation is part of the context of several structuring projects for regional mobility supported by the French Embassy in Colombia and AFD through FASEP and FFEM funds: the proximity train project between Cali and neighboring municipalities ( prefeasibility carried out by SYSTRA) and the “Corredor Verde” project for urban renewal and promotion of soft mobility along the railway line in Cali.

The technical cooperation facilitated by CODATU in partnership with the French Development Agency in Cali in Colombia came to an end last July. The objective of this cooperation launched in February 2019 was to support local authorities in the structuring of a Regional Transport Authority (ART) for Cali and its area of ​​influence.
This technical cooperation accompanied the structuring of an ART for the Agglomeration of Cali and a Managing Entity (EG) for the regional rail system project. It was structured in two components: on the one hand, technical assistance to the actors of the Agglomeration to consolidate their capacities in terms of mobility governance (carried out by CODATU) and on the other hand, a technical structuring study, financial, institutional and organizational of the ART and EG of the future rail system (carried out by the Franco-Colombian consortium DVDH-GSD +) (https://www.codatu.org/partenaire/dvdh-des-villes-et -men/ ). Feedback on the successful cooperation between AFD, CODATU and local and regional players.

Participatory work with great results

During the cooperation, four workshops and numerous meetings were organized to bring together the actors involved in the agglomeration’s mobility issues and collectively build the roadmap towards regional governance.

The cooperation opening event in April 2019 brought together repesentatives of 7 project cities as well as those of the Departmental Government and AFD. It was an opportunity to inform them of the strategic ART project which was starting and to invite them to actively participate in it. The first workshop in May 2019 allowed participants to understand the role and functioning of the future ART, to identify the issues and to design organizational restructuring scenarios. The second, organized by the DVDH-GSD + consortium in July 2019, was the opportunity to present the progress of the study and to select two privileged structuring scenarios to form the ART and the EG. This first phase of cooperation ended with the signing of a letter of intent by representatives of the Cauca Valley Government, interested Municipalities and the public company MetroCali, manager of Cali’s BRT system. This document confirms the willingness of regional actors to continue the process of integrating transport systems at the metropolitan level.

In the second phase, technical cooperation broadened the collective participation process to structure ART and EGR to operators and users. The third workshop in September 2019 then focused on the “role of the ‘ART in the construction of the future Integrated Regional Transport System -SITR- ”. This new phase has shown that there is already a certain complementarity and integration of the region’s systems (integration of companies on the Pacific Corridor, complementarity of intermunicipal transport with the MIO on the Cali-Palmira line), and that for several actors (administrations, users, a few transport companies), there are opportunities to move forward on the physical, operational and tariff integration of transport modes in the medium term. These exchanges also revealed a lack of trust between certain entities in the region and the need to generate participation mechanisms in order to improve relations and implement strategic changes in the area of ​​regional mobility.

The third phase corresponds to the process of transition between the administrative teams at the end of 2019, following the Colombian municipal and regional elections. The fourth workshop was then used to inform the actors who were arriving on the project and to prepare the establishment of the ART in 2020.

Significant achievements

The last phase of cooperation in 2020 made it possible to continue awareness-raising work for the new teams in charge of coordinating regional transport projects (feasibility study of the rail system, setting up of the ART and EG, SITR structuring study) and to support them in the strategic stages of their implementation. Since the end of 2019, the Government of the Cauca Valley has also benefited from the support of the FDN (National Development Financial Entity, a development bank attached to the Ministry of the Economy specializing in the financing and structuring of infrastructure projects in Colombia) in particular to define a transitional governance plan in order to ensure the monitoring of projects and their coordination while awaiting the operationalization of ART and EG. At the request of regional actors, technical cooperation provided legal and strategic support on this subject and a working group drew up an inter-administrative agreement to form the territorial associative scheme that will allow the future creation of ART and EG.

Once established, the ART and EG will be responsible for the implementation of the regional train and the alignment of the various regional services (BRT system and intermunicipal buses) in order to create an integrated multimodal network at the metropolitan scale: the SITR (Integrated Regional Transport System). In order to support the future ART in this task, CODATU has drawn up the Terms of Reference for the regional system structuring study, which will include the reorganization of bus lines, the process of integrating technological and tariff systems, the process professionalization of traditional bus services, and the definition of a gradual implementation plan.

A successful collaboration

This ART project in the Agglomeration of Cali is a pioneer in Colombia, where no territory has yet put this legal figure into practice. Technical cooperation made it possible to orient and concretize a pre-existing desire to improve and integrate transport at the metropolitan level by defining the roadmap for the creation of an ART and by supporting the first steps.

The collaboration between regional and local actors, AFD and CODATU has been of high quality: the former now have a detailed knowledge of international experiences and the challenges of building an ART, and they have the strategic documents. adapted to the Cali context to set up regional governance in the field of transport and mobility.

Carried out over 18 months, this successful collaboration is the result of fruitful participatory work. The organization of multiple workshops allowed the different actors to gradually develop a common strategic vision for the creation of ART. Satisfied with the work done, the partners are available to share their experience of this technical cooperation and of the assembly of the ART of the Agglomeration of Cali with other Colombian cities and the region