Transportation in Curitiba, Brazil

31 10 2007

Curitiba, Brazil managed to set up an outsanding transportation scheme. Indeed, it is now an exemple for many cities regarding transportation and congestion cities. It has eventually received awards from environnment organizations.

Curitiba is located in the state of Parama. In 2005, the population amounts to 1 757 900 inhabitants. The population increased of a factor 3 in 25 years. Indeed, a plan for urbanization was needed to keep up with the city’s extension.
Transportation was the first field to work on as planning the city and organizing transportation services are slightly linked

A little history…
The rapid growth of the city from the 1950s resulted from the migration from rural areas to urbanized zones.
The Master Plan for the city was launched in 1965. The main idea was to use transportation land use and road systems as integrative tools for Curitiba’s development. By 1970, the original radial model of the city was changed into a linear model for urbanisation throughout a zoning law. One year later, it was the first Brazilian city to introduce a pedestrian network, which is now extended and includes 130 km of roads for bicycles.
Alongside these changes, structural axes were built. These corridors componed of 3 roads, dedicate the two restricted lane of the central road to express buses use exclusively. All the measures taken eventually curbed down congestion in the center and allowed a rapid transit of passengers.

The bus system in detail

The express buses terminals allow a rapid transit of passenger and avoid people getting through without paying the fare

It was designed as a spiderweb to reach every corner of the city. The purpose was to propose an effective and integrated system to the citizens. Therefore, there’s a unique fare for one travel and connection is ensured within the network by modal platforms and terminals.
To sum up its main characteristics, the system
– Is designed as a spiderweb network (roads starting from the center going towards the surburbs linked with circular connection roads)
– Eases transportation for disabled people
– Has restricted bus dedicated to express buses
– Uses extra-long buses (carrying up to 270 passengers) driven by one employee only
– Has a waiting time of 2 minutes maximum

The figures truly reflects the efficiency of the system as:
– It transports 1.8 million people annually.
– 80% of the inhabitants uses the bus even though 28% of them do own a car.
– The air pollution was reduced by 30%.

As for the cost of the project, public investment amounted to 300 million dollars. However, the system now runs independtly of subsidies as for $1 from public investment, there are $4 from private funding. The fare of the tickets cover the global costs of the system except for the infrastructure maintenance, which is taken in charge by the city.
The city is behind the success of the project. As a matter of facts, it designed the lanes, choose the vehicle, installed stations (even in the favelas) and set a unique fare to 15 FB whatever distance is made. Therefore, an easy access is guaranted to everyone.

Curitiba thus set high standards for metropolitan transport systems. The scheme of the Brazilian city has proved its efficiency and is rewarded by several urban organization. It was a model for some cities as it inspired Bogota’s Transmileneo. However, Curitiba not only based its urban plan on transportation and other breakthrough were also made in the fields of environment and waste management, for example.
Therefore, this city can definitively be used as an inspiration to design new transportation plan.