March 11, 2014

Let’s MOVE: Belo Horizonte’s First BRT Brings Mobility and Opportunity

MOVE stations have strong pedstrian accessibility measures. Credit: Clarisse Linke.
MOVE stations have strong pedstrian accessibility measures. Credit: Clarisse Linke.

This weekend, Belo Horizonte joins the growing number of cities in Brazil and around the world bringing the benefits of high-quality sustainable transit to its citizens. On March 8, the city opened the first of three planned corridors of MOVE, Belo Horizonte’s first BRT system. The new corridor runs along Avenida Cristiano Machado and follows best practices in BRT design, including center-aligned stations, off-board fare collection, and integrated intermodal connections. At the MOVE inauguration, city officials and citizens alike rode the BRT for the first time, representing a major step forward for Brazil’s third largest city. When the system reaches full operation, scheduled for May 17, it will have the capacity to carry 700,000 people per day.

The Avenida Cristiano Machado corridor is 6km, running between the São Gabriel Station in the northeast and city center. Along this corridor, there are three different routes running. One line provides direct service from end to end, cutting riders’ commute times significantly, while a second route makes local stops at eight additional stations. The final route runs along the corridor, then branches out to connect with Savassi Station, linking several hospitals and commercial districts to the corridor. These routes show how the corridor can serve diverse needs for the city.

Off board fare collection, level boarding, and safe, comfortable stations are are important aspects of good BRT station design, and are featured in Belo Horizonte's new MOVE system.
Off board fare collection, level boarding, and safe, comfortable stations are are important aspects of good BRT station design, and are featured in Belo Horizonte’s new MOVE system.

MOVE will bring important benefits to BRT riders and to all Belo Horizonte residents. For riders, it will shorter travel times between the two main terminals by 50% and provide a safe comfortable trip across town. In addition, all Belo Horizonte citizens will enjoy reduced congestion and emissions. The corridor is also expected to help revitalize the city’s downtown and encourage mixed use development.

“The creation of the BRT has the potential to reinvigorate the most degraded areas, attracting investment and encouraging compact land use,” said Clarisse Linke, Director of ITDP Brazil. “It’s a pleasure to see the MOVE system come true. For years, ITDP has worked to identify the characteristics that make BRT systems succeed worldwide. Our intention is to help the city improve the project and make adjustments as needed.” ITDP has brought its international expertise to support Belo Horizonte’s BRT through sharing best practice designs, advising on corridor design, and evaluating plans for the multimodal São Gabriel Station.

 MOVE is expected to score highly on the BRT Standard, indicating that, through good design and system management, the new corridors will bring many benefits to the riders and city residents, including time savings, reducing congestion and emissions, and promoting mixed use development downtown for a more livable city.

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