Past Winners

Bogotá, Colombia : 2016 WINNER

Bogotá: Creating a Safer, Shorter and More Engaging School Commute for Bogotá’s Youth

  • 7,878,783

    Population
  • Enrique Peñalosa

    Mayor
  • Spanish

    Official Language
  • Directly elected mayor (four-year term)

    Type of Government
  • Additional facts

    Bogotá has more than 1.5 million children enrolled in the school system
  • More than half of schoolchildren in Bogotá take the bus to and from school

The Problem

750,000 students in the city get to school on foot – having to walk, on average, more than a mile in each direction on narrow sidewalks in unsafe conditions, with little protection from Bogota’s tumultuous traffic.

The Innovation

A “walking school bus,” aimed at ensuring children’s safety and shortening their commute times. Led by adult guides, participating children meet at various pick-up points and walk together to and from school. During the trip, guides lead their student caravans in a series of educational games designed to raise awareness of their surroundings and teach road safety. Through the journey, the kids score points, are rewarded with stickers, and mark their progress with badges they wear on their uniforms.

The Impact

Ciempés has created 19 safe routes in 14 schools, and there are more than 11,000 students, teachers and parents who have participated in a walking caravan. By the end of 2019, the program aims to expand to include 1,000 students who regularly participate. The program creates a sense of community which brings together parents, neighbors, schools and the City.

Words from Bogotá

“The children are a sort of indicator. If we build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people.” – Mayor Enrique Peñalosa


  • Additional facts

    Bogotá has more than 1.5 million children enrolled in the school system
  • More than half of schoolchildren in Bogotá take the bus to and from school

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