Large Outdoor Escalator System (Medellin - Colombia)

Case Study

Large Outdoor Escalator System (Medellin - Colombia)

The neighbourhood of Comuna 13, located on the periphery of Medellin, is one of the poorest in the city. Crime and gang wars gained the upper hand, and Comuna 13 became known as the most violent neighbourhood in the city of Medellin. For several years, approximately 12.000 dwellers of Comuna 13 used to climb hundreds of steps to get from the city centre to their homes.

The initiative focused on the installation of an urban escalator system in this poor neighbourhood of Medellin that cut an arduous 30-minute walk down to a 6-minute walk. This was a very concrete action to improve the quality of life of the most needed citizens, proving how a “simple” but innovative public transportation system like an escalator could have a profound impact in their lives.

There are some risks, namely the security issues related to children and elderly, but the system is very valuable because it promotes equity and fairness among citizens, addresses the most needed citizens and improves society’s mobility in the city.

Case study city(ies)
Case study country(ies)

Improved Intelligent Transport Systems.


Medellin government (management and development).


Maintain the escalator always available and avoid equipment misuse.

Solutions deployed

Escalator system; Mobility technologies.

Smart Solution(s) deployed by the case

The large outdoor escalator built in Medellin connects the poor neighbourhoods to the prosperous city’s valley centre in a few minutes. The escalator is divided into six stages and zigzags its way up the slope ascending a total height of 384 meters.

Results and Impacts

The large outdoor escalator system reduced a difficult walk of 30 minutes to a ride of just 6 minutes, improving the quality of life of the citizens. Besides that, it is safer than walking and offers more commodity.