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Sustainable Transport

Since the 1950’ies, Brazil’s urban population has grown nine fold and often uncoordinated, making these two factors the most prominent drivers of urban development. Planning and infrastructure were often implemented only after informal settlements had been established.

This process of expansion of cities continues today. Given the lack of sufficient public transportation to satisfy the growing demand, people choose individual transportation instead. Thisleads to high levels of congestion, lengthy travel times and pollution. In light of this public transport problem, the implementation of Light Rail Vehicles and BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) are seen today by Brazilian cities as cost-effective solutions.

There is an increasing awareness of the challenges in Brazil. Federal, State, and local agencies as well as private organizations are working to translate the broad goals of sustainability into specific transportation policies, objectives, and programs.

This year, Brazil was the host of the 2014 World Cup tournament. In 2016, the country will host the Olympic Games. To meet the increase in demand of urban mobility in the country’s main cities, the federal government financed selected development projects through the USD 6,6 billion PAC program. However, many of them were not finalized and other cities are realizing the need for urban mobility development to serve its population.

Federal government is investing heavily in the expansion and improvement of the public transport system. The majority of these improvements focus around the creation of BRT, light rail vehicles and to some extent the metro system. Some of the most important changes will be the monorail connecting São Paulo’s Congonhas airport with the nearest commuter train station. Besides the improvements in urban infrastructure for the transport system, several cities have been working with projects for the use of alternative fuels in buses.

The Sustainable Transportation track within the Environmental Technology Initiative is focusing on identifying activities and potential opportunities for Swedish companies within the above areas. Sweden is in many ways world leading when it comes to sustainable transportation and there are opportunities to co-operate and exchange knowledge, experience and technology between Sweden and Brazil in a joint effort to reach a more sustainable transportation system.

In 2011, Business Sweden identified urban mobility as one of the potential areas of in-depth research which has been conducted since. The most recent activity was the Challenges and Opportunities of Urban Transport organized in Florianópolis. Other examples of activities that Business Sweden has and will continue work with are analysis, seminars, visits to Expo’s and business monitoring within the sector.

Top image from Image Bank Sweden. Copyright: SJ AB, Photographer Kasper Dudzik.