Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is taking action to increase access to urban spaces for all and prioritize socially inclusive transport modes. In 2014, the city built 39 km of new bus rapid transit, added 3.3 km of new cycle lanes and installed bike racks across the city. These big investments in public transportation are already showing results, with residents around the city getting on board.
Rio de Janeiro, with a population of 6.5 million residents, is a city with complex geography and strong urban pressures. Through investments in public works over the past year, the city has vastly expanded access to transport. According to Rio de Janeiro City Hall’s Strategic Plan, by 2016 more than 60% of the population will have access to high capacity transit, such as train, subway and BRT- up from 18% in 2009. This sort of transformational change will open up economic opportunities for residents and propel the city forward.
TransCarioca, Rio’s second BRT corridor, opened on June 1. With 45 stations and 5 terminal stations covering 39 kilometers, the new corridor links the international airport in the north with residential and commercial areas of the city. The system already serves 270,000 passengers per day, and is expected to increase to 320,000 once the final elements are operational. These riders benefit from a 65% reduction in travel time at rush hour and a 56% reduction in bus transfers. By replacing over 500 buses in the city and increasing efficiency, TransCarioca produces a 38% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Rio de Janeiro has continued expanding its network of cycle lanes throughout the city. With the goal of reaching a 450 km cycle grid by 2016, the city has added protected lanes and cycle paths throughout the city this year, allowing safer and easier options for bikers. The city has complemented these routes with an increase in bike racks, having added over 1,300 since 2013.
As Rio de Janeiro looks to the future, plans for additional improvements to public transport are in the works. With extensions to public transit routes, additional biking infrastructure, and policies on urban form, Rio hopes to bridge social divisions within the city and build a stronger, more interconnected city.
RSVP For the 2015 Sustainable Transport Award, January 13, 2015 in Washington D.C.
Since 2005, the STA has been given annually to a city that has implemented innovative and sustainable transportation projects in the past year. These strategies must improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, as well as improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.
The 2015 finalists will be honored at a reception at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 13, 2015, during the Transport Research Board annual conference in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend the STA ceremony, click here to RSVP.
Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include: Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014) Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Medellin, Colombia and San Francisco, United States (2012); Guangzhou, China (2011); Ahmedabad, India (2010); New York City, USA (2009); London, UK (2008); Paris, France (2008); Guayaquil, Ecuador (2007); Seoul, South Korea (2006), and Bogotá, Colombia (2005).