Implementation of Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure : conflicts, meanings and contradictions in the defense of the streets of Santiago de Chile

La Fabrique du Mouvement
By Cristhian Figueroa Martínez

Streets are currently the subject of social and economic pressure, which questions their design and functioning. In the case of Santiago de Chile, the complicated implementation of a new public transport system in 2007 (Transantiago) implied the elaboration of several projects to adjust the traditional street structure to the needs of the new rapid transit bus system (BRT). However, all of the proposals triggered social disputes which ended with the same result: the imposition of social demands over Central State needs. This paper aims to characterize those conflicts, identifying the actors involved, their arguments and their evolution through time. It concludes with the multiple meanings that people assign to streets and Central State incapability to communicate its ideas and objectives.

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