Author (Your Name)

Eleanor JacksonFollow

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Global Studies Program


Professor Patrice Franko

Second Advisor

Professor Britt Halvorson


This thesis examines how global and local governance has combined to deliver effective and sustainable public transportation in cities by comparing Bogotá’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, TransMilenio, with Medellín’s mass transit system, STIMVA, often referred to as Metro de Medellín. After considering the rationales used to justify local and global authority over climate change, this analysis problematizes the supposed benefits of empowering global and local actors by highlighting the conflicts of interest that plague the elites who mediate the global and the local. In analyzing the global and local interactions, this work draws from extensive literature to highlight three potential risks of global governance that inhibit the benefits of empowering local actors to govern on climate change issues. The technocratic risk, where global actors encourage local governments to emphasize technical planning to the detriment of reading local opinion, the political risk, when political leaders hinge their careers on the transport system while also drawing on global validation that sets the system on precarious ground, and the neoliberal risk, where cities brand themselves to the point of emphasizing symbolic over systemic change in order to compete in the global capital market. Examining these risks helps to explain how the presence of multilateral governance during the creation of TransMilenio may have contributed to the lack of local support for the system as mayors relied too heavily on the political authority and technocratic rationales of global institutions. In contrast, the cases of Medellín and the Enrique Peñalosa’s second term in Bogotá, showcase the neoliberal risk as the multilevel governance system promotes city branding and empowers elite and private actors.


Colombia, Public Transportation, Social Responsibility