Two cities have been recognized for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and improve the quality of urban life by being awarded the coveted Sustainable Transport Award: San Francisco, California and Medellin, Colombia.

The shared award was provided by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), an international nonprofit that works with cities worldwide to bring about sustainable transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life. San Francisco’s innovative parking reform and Medellin’s energy-efficient and affordable electric-powered gondola lines both made a significant impression on the ITDP.  

According to a 2006 report from the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism, Medellin’s system is one of very few aerial cable car systems used for mass transit, and the first of its kind in Latin America. Environmentally, the system has helped to cut emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases, and other pollution by reducing usage of “outdated and badly maintained buses” on the city’s steep, narrow roads.  Green Moves: Medellin Cable Cars, San Francisco Parking Reform

Noting that Medellin’s cable car solution is now being replicated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Caracas, Venezuela (where an older cable car system actually operated until 1988), Dalkmann called the system “a real breakthrough.” He added, “The city transformed violence and despair into hope and opportunity, using sustainable transport as one of the key levers to drive this change.”

Source: National Geographic, For more on the story