Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere, and the sixth largest city in the Americas with 6.3 million people. This year, Rio took significant steps toward improving their transit and reducing traffic as part of a comprehensive mobility plan ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic games in 2016. In 2012 Rio opened its first world-class bus rapid transit corridor, Transoeste, expanded a bike share program that was implemented in 2011, and undertook a major public space improvement project with the expansion and renovation of Madureira park.
In June of 2012, Rio launched the first leg of a 150 km network of BRT corridors. Transoeste, Rio’s first world-class BRT corridor, is the first of four lines that will be integrated into the city’s transit network by 2016. So far, Transoeste has significantly reduced GHG emissions, cut travel time in half, and significantly improved the quality of life for people living in Rio’s West Zone. Transoeste is estimated to carry 120,000 passengers per day, and ridership is expected to grow, as the corridor has capacity for carrying up to 220,000 people per day.
Rio’s bicycle sharing system has increased the understanding related to the demand and use of the bike throughout the city, while contributing to the city’s ongoing improvement and development of bike lanes and paths. The existence of this infrastructure contributes to an improvement of the concept of urban mobility of the city. In 2012, Rio more than doubled the number of bikes and stations, and added 300 km of bike lanes. The program promotes a healthy atmosphere and the use of the most sustainable mode of transit, contributing to Rio’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eight percent by the end of 2012.
Since June 23, residents of and visitors to northern Rio can enjoy what is now the third largest green area the city. This is Madureira Park, which in 2012 was expanded to 103,000 square meters, equivalent to 12 football fields. The park contains new facilities for sports, a gazebo, food courts and walking trails. Another highlight is the use of green technologies throughout the park, such as reuse of rainwater for irrigation of plants and 400 LED bulbs. The city invested 100 million dollars to transform the park from a former wasteland in a crowded area lacking in public and green space. Renovation of the area including planting of 52,000 seedlings, 432 native trees and 194 palm trees, as well as 21,500 meters square of grass greenback. The park decreases the temperature of the surroundings within 5 degrees Celsius, a relief for the neighborhood, 98 percent of which is covered by concrete buildings and avenues.
Watch this short video of Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, speaking about Rio’s sustainable transport plan for the Olympic games: