COVID Challenge Cuenca, Ecuador

Emergency bike lanes, safely designed in Cuenca

The City of Cuenca set their sights on creating a leader in sustainable mobility within Ecuador. Their focus on sustainable solutions such as electric mobility in the public transport sector, was expanded at the beginning of corona pandemic.

In Short

Build local capacities & exchange experiencies on cycleways

Improve cyclist safety on road intersections

Implementation of improved desings

Better cycleways for the community

The Context

The city of Cuenca by its Municipality has been working on promoting the use of the bicycle by expanding its bikeway infrastructure reaching a 50 km network. Along with the infrastructure, the city has undertaken other activities with the aim of motivating citizens to make use of the bicycle instead of the private car:

  • Cycling hire scheme
  • Bicycle parking
  • Active Mobility Ordinance
  • Recreational biking activities
  • Educational programs
  • Intermodality, Tram system

Although there is been an increase and improve of cycling conditions in the city, there is a need to improve bikeways designs to improve safety for cyclist and pedestrians. This is a key factor that motivates new users to choose the bicycle to move around the city for their daily activities.

The Covid Impact

When COVID shocked the world, Cuenca understood the need and benefits of active mobility and knew they needed to push forward with expanding their cycling network with emerging bikeways. Their short-term goal was to add 30 km of cycling lanes to the 50 km already in place. The city decided to convert the emerging bikeways to permanent. Through the new cycling infrastructure, Cuenca will move closer towards the goal of a sustainable urban mobility system, as well as a resilient mobility offer for the citizens, in times of crisis and beyond.

The Challenge

As the city expands its bikeway network, there are few parts of the existing infrastructure that needed to be revised on their designs focusing on providing safety for cyclists.

By a peer exchange between Denmark´s Copenhagenize Design Co. leading group on bikeways design and the Municipality of Cuenca were identified 4 critical intersections to work on improving designs from a bike user experience. The result of this exchange a guideline was developed to rollout of a more bicycle friendly city. And while this document focuses on four individual intersections, it is intended to offer replicable solutions that can be partly recreated across many existing scenarios in the city.

The Pilot

The knowledge acquired by the city was put in place with the support of TUMI on two pilot intersections. The improved designs went through a safety audits analysis by Colombian experts from DESPACIO who leaded workshops on active mobility to the city to reinforce knowledge. The safety audits led the city improve its designs and incorporate measures to improve cycling and walking conditions.

Av Solano Foto aerea

Av. Salona and Alfonso M. Mora before the pilot project

The Results

The improved designs on the two intersections were implemented with the support of TUMI. A socializing process was undertaken by the city. The project was presented on the first Cuenca´s International Congress “Desafíos de la Movilidad” were the team involved in the project had the opportunity to show how the designs have improved the cyclist and pedestrian safety. The project finalized with an inauguration event by mobility authorities of the municipality, cyclist collectives and citizens.

DJI 0523

Implementation of bicycle path and pedestrian crossings on Av. Salona and Alfonso M. Mora

Table 1

Improvements on Av. Salona and Alfonso M. Mora Streets

Table 2

Improvements on Av. Remigio and Agustin Cueva Streets

The results of the TUMI COVID CHALLENGE IN THE CITY OF CUENCA with the participation of the municipality team involved in the project


Municipality of Cuenca

Dirección de Gestión de Movilidad ; twitter account: @cuenca_dgm

Empresa de Movilidad EMOV EP ; twitter account: @emov_ep

Copenhagenize Co; twitter account: @copenhagenizers

Despacio; twitter account: @despacio_org

Cuenca Bike Intersection Peer Review

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