Leading with Vision

trans-bogotaModel D explores how visionary urban leadership across the country and around the world can have a positive impact on cities. In the first of a series of interviews with mayors and other leaders who have made transformative change, Model D talks to Enrique Penalosa, mayor of Bogota, Colombia from 1998 to 2001.

The Penalosa administration spearheaded the development of the TransMilenio, a citywide bus rapid transit system, as well as a wide-ranging network of bikeways. After a decade, TransMilenio is widely regarded a success. The transit systems moves over 1.6 million riders a day, that’s more than twice the riders as Chicago’s El or the D.C. Metro. And Penalosa’s bikeways provide thousands of new cyclists a healthy and safe way to navigate Bogota.

Since leaving office, Mayor Penalosa has worked to promote sustainable urbanism not only in Bogota, but in cities throughout the world. He was a visiting scholar at New York University and currently serves as the President of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a non-government organization that works with cities to bring about sustainable transport solutions.

Model D caught up with Mayor Penalosa for some questions and found that Penalosa’s commitment to building and operating the best system possible, even with limited resources, offers a valuable lesson in leadership.

Read the conversation here.