Ecatepec is a municipality in the State of Mexico, located on the northeastern border of Mexico City. Home to nearly 1.8 million people, it is the most heavily populated and densest municipality in the country (INEGI, 2010). By formal indicators, the municipality has a low level of social development, with more than 40% of its population living under poverty conditions, with low access to public services and a dearth of adequate public transit, health, and commercial facilities (SMIEG, 2013).
Ecatepec, similar to other municipalities in the State of Mexico, suffers from a severe public safety problem and is one of the most dangerous municipalities in the country (Instituto de Estudios Legislativos, 2016). Public transportation routes are typical targets of violent robberies and, according to a recent poll from Mexico´s Statistics Agency (INEGI), 91% of Ecatepec’s population reports feeling unsafe while riding public transportation in the municipality — public transport has the highest perception of insecurity of all the places surveyed (INEGI, 2017).
Ecatepec generates about 16% of total person trips in the MCMA, of which 60% involve colectivos and 27% the Metro system (Guerra 2014). The extension of Metro Line B in 2000, which brought the first mass transit line to the municipality, improved transit access for residents. However, over a decade later, Ecatepec had yet to capitalize fully on this infrastructure and a lack of organization of the areas around stations brought large negative externalities to surrounding neighborhoods. These factors helped make the municipality somewhat uniquely open to investments that could improve public transportation and the areas around transit stations (Softec, 2006).