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Challenges and Opportunities of Urban Transport in Florianópolis

On May 14th, the Swedish Embassy and Business Sweden together arranged a seminar about solutions for public transport in Florianópolis attracting 80 decision makers, managers and specialists of urban transport from the region. The aim was to present economically and environmentally sustainable solutions for public transport, as supplied by Swedish companies such as Volvo and Ericsson.

A systematic approach to planning the future public transport system

Florianópolis is known for its high quality of life and as a beautiful tourist destination. However, just like in any growing urban centre, the inhabitants of the metropolitan region have experienced a deteriorating traffic situation due to the increased number of cars. The insular location with the bridges being a bottle-neck adds to the difficulties, aside from the seasonal peaks due to tourism.

Today, public transport consists exclusively of ordinary bus lines and has suffered tremendously from the traffic congestion, resulting in longer transport times and higher ticket prices. Facing this situation, the state government decided to adopt a systematic approach towards planning the future of public transport in the region.

Plamus, an independent consortium, won the bid to develop a plan for the transport system. Currently, several modalities such as Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), monorail and tramway are being studied.

Swedish solutions placed in the center of the ongoing debate

The decision about the future traffic system is expected to be taken later this year, so the timing for the seminar was just right. The large number of attendants and the strong resonance in local media further emphasized the high interest, as confirmed by Guilherme Medeiros, the general coordinator of Plasmus:

 “[we had] excellent receptivity from the selected audience that certainly left the event with a broader vision of sustainable mobility. The participants have been very positive – both the audience, as well as the local media. [The result of the seminar] honestly exceeded our best expectations by far”, concluded Mr. Medeiros.

Swedish Ambassador to Brazil Magnus Robach opened the seminar together with the Mayor of Florianopolis and the State Secretary of Planning. Alberto Rodrigues from Ericsson showed examples of how transport systems can be organized in a more intelligent and efficient way by using resources of wireless connectivity. He mentioned São José dos Campos as a case study, where Ericsson has implemented a solution that allows fleet monitoring in real time.

Volvo presented solutions for Bus Rapid Transport that offers capacity and comfort comparable to a subway system, at a fraction of the cost. Another important aspect presented by Volvo were the hybrid busses that use 35% less fuel and produce 50% less pollution than ordinary buses.

The seminar made it possible to position the solutions by the Swedish companies at the core of the ongoing debate. This will hopefully have a positive influence on the upcoming decision or as Ayrton Amaral, responsible for Volvo Urban Mobility in Latin America, put it:

"In Brazil, the BRT solution was created in the 1970's in co-operation between Volvo and the City of Curitiba. Since then, it spread to more than 160 cities on all continents, but it is still very little known in our own country. […] We would like to congratulate Business Sweden for this successful seminar. These type of activities makes it possible to disseminate relevant information about the BRT system helping the cities take the right decision and solve the challenges of urban mobility.”