Managing and proposing traffic improvements for a mega-city like São Paulo is one of the biggest challenges for any public administrator. During weekdays, 3.9 million vehicles circulate through the city, with around ten million trips being made in the municipal bus system alone. Mayor Gilberto Kassab describes the measures for his city with a future.

Gilberto Kassab (graphics)

There are no magical solutions to the issue. However, statistical data show that even with a 22.9 percent increase in the registered fleet of vehicles between 2007 and 2010, the city’s rate of congestion has fallen over recent years. Several measures have been adopted to bring about these numbers. Restrictions on circulation that were implemented years ago with no-drive days based on license numbers were also been applied to trucks on certain roadways and at certain times. Today, in São Paulo’s expanded central district, trucks that used to occupy the space of four or five cars no longer circulate. In addition, freighted buses have been limited to travelling on main thoroughfares.

City Hall has invested R$ 1 billion in expanding the Metro and will invest another R$ 1 billion by the end of 2012. The bus fleet was renewed and replaced with larger and more modern buses. These initiatives make the system more attractive, improving its levels of efficiency and comfort. Moreover, all of the city’s bus corridors are being remodeled. The Municipal Secretary of Transportation is working with a target of increasing average bus speed by 15 percent, which is equal to adding 2,250 buses to the system. There are already 47.2 km of bike lanes and another 55 km are being designed. Furthermore, there are 45 km of leisure bike paths, 3.3 km of definitive bike paths, and 22 km of bike paths with specific signs for bikers.

“These initiatives make the system more attractive, improving its levels of efficiency and comfort.” Gilberto Kassab, Mayor of São Paulo (quotation)

Regarding the environment, 1,200 buses are fueled B20, a mix of 20 percent biodiesel made of soy and corn with a low sulfur content fuel. São Paulo also relies on the first ethanol fueled bus fleet in the country. Testing has also been done with hybrids, using sugarcane diesel and electricity. In parallel with these new initiatives, the trolleybus system is getting a facelift.

Among measures aimed at making traffic safer, a speed limit reduction from 70 km/h to 60 km/h has already been implemented on more than 250 roadways. In addition, the Pedestrian Protection Program is changing the attitude of the citizens of São Paulo by creating a culture of respect for pedestrians in crosswalks. With measures on several fronts, we are managing to change the way that São Paulo works when it comes to day to day transportation, whether through collective or individual transport, travelling by bike, or walking.



São Paulo is the capital city of the eponymous federal state. It’s the largest city in Brazil and is also the country’s most important economic, financial and cultural centre. As part of a comprehensive climate policy, the city is committed to drastically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and to sustainably optimizing the city’s energy footprint.

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