ITDP has been supporting non-motorized transport (NMT) projects in São Paulo, the largest city in South America, with 11.3 million people within city limits and 19.8 million in the metropolitan area, since 2007. São Paulo’s automobile traffic is notorious, with traffic jams regularly reaching new records. In March 2011 the municipality registered a record 157km of gridlock, also known as tailbacks, during the peak period. Sitting in traffic jams for hours is routine in the city.
ITDP planned a pilot bicycle path in the neighborhood of Butantã. This 15-kilometer (9-mile) bike path goes by some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, strongly middle and working-class areas, and connects to one of the largest favelas, Paraísopolis. Additionally, ITDP completed a recommendation report for a 12-km (7.5-mile) bicycle route in the working-class neighborhood of Grajaú in 2010, at the request of the municipality, which has been incorporated into the city’s ongoing cycle route plans. ITDP was integral to the implementation of a car-free Sunday program, which has now taken on a life of its own, with ongoing extensions to the cycle lane and hours of operation.
ITDP initiated work on a congestion pricing scheme for São Paulo in 2004, bringing in Derek Turner, the architect of London’s system, to work with city officials and Brazilian consultancies. Although the project was not implemented due to political concerns, congestion pricing was put on the map as an effective way to manage the huge demand for automobile transport, reduce emissions, and improve quality of life in the Brazil’s largest city.
City Center Revitalization
In 2006 and 2007, ITDP worked on city center revitalization, bringing Gehl Architects to the city to create a plan for the Anhangabaú and Centro das Artes downtown area. The primary objective of reinforcing the already significant but dispersed cultural, residential, and commercial offering in the city center. ITDP continues to explore ways to support traffic demand management measures that complement city center revitalization efforts in São Paulo. ITDP has also been participating in a work group with SECOVI, government officers, private companies and other NGOs to promote parking policy measures.