Joinville’s Urban Mobility Plan Highlighted in New United Nations Report
Since launching its Mobility Plan in 2015, Joinville, in Santa Catarina, Brazil, has become a model city for urban planning. With ambitious and coherent goals, the city is prepared to offer a high-quality of life to a population that is expected to reach 1 million by 2045. The city was one of the first to complete its Mobility Plan, fulfilling the guidelines established in Brazil’s National Policy of Urban Mobility (PNMU). Since its initial draft in 2014, IPPUJ (Foundation and Institute of Research and Planning for Sustainable Development in Joinville) found WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities’ “Seven Steps – How to build an Urban Mobility Plan” methodology to be the right formula to enhance Joinville’s planning process. By incorporating the Seven Steps, the city implemented a series of infrastructural changes to improve mobility and move toward more sustainable urban development. Since then, our Brazil team has provided technical support to the city on a variety of topics, and the joint work has led to the successes that can be seen today in city streets. Ultimately, in October of this year, the new United Nations report, “Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development,” highlighted the city’s impressive sustainable infrastructure, demonstrating the far-reaching, global impact of Joinville’s work.
New Bus Corridors and Integrated Urban Planning for a Better City
In order to avoid the growing trend of cars on the road, Joinville aims to make public transport the main mode of city travel. In 2014, the city used WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities’ QualiÔnibus Satisfaction Survey to evaluate rider perception of bus system quality. According to Vladimir Constante, President of IPPUJ, the survey results triggered the first concrete measures to improve the system.
The survey revealed that the lowest level of rider satisfaction centered on bus regularity and reliability: Road disputes with cars directly affected bus routes, and traffic congestion prevented buses from completing their daily schedules on time. To resolve this problem, Joinville built new bus corridors, creating specific traffic signs and paintings on the streets. Now, the city has 21 kilometers (13 miles) of public transport-dedicated lanes. The Urban Mobility Plan’s goal is to increase the use of public transport from 24 percent to 40 percent by 2030. To do so, the city wants to build at least 80 kilometers of new bus-dedicated lanes by 2025. “Today, we see public transport as an essential component of urban mobility. Our corridors are already being built, and we want to double the number of people using public transport over the next ten years. This way, the fare price drops, and we start to leave our cars at home and chose the bus, which is way more sustainable, safer and faster,” said Mayor Udo Döhler, in an interview with WRI Brasil’s Paula Tanscheit.
As a means to increase ridership, the city built bus corridors along the Iririú-Center bus route. This route now passes through three stretches of bus corridors, and the increase in user satisfaction is evident. With the new improvements, riders saw significant reductions in travel time. For instance, passenger Talita Schultz saved 15 minutes, and Isabella Oliveira saw a one hour reduction in her daily commute. “Since I don’t own a car,” said Isabella, “for me, it was a very positive change. Now, I gain one hour a day, thanks to the corridor,” she said. Gustavo Marques, another passenger, points out the advantage of choosing this enhanced public transport over a car: “No one usually thinks that it will take more time commuting by car than by bus.” With the new corridors, however, the commute is faster by bus.
Joinville is also applying WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities’ Seven Steps methodology to other urban development plans in the city, including the Master Plan of Non-Motorized Transport (PDTA), a complement of the Urban Mobility Plan. Another example is the Master Plan of Public Transport, which is now on the 5th step—the approval process—which consists of several public consultation meetings, so the population can evaluate the guidelines outlined in the plan.
The “City of Bikes” Wants to be the Cyclists’ City Again
The presence of cyclists in Joinville is historically strong. In the 1970s, the city was entitled “City of Bikes” and until the 1980s, bicycle trips represented 30 percent of city travel. In the beginning of the 2000s, however, this number dropped to only 4 percent, and, today, it’s around 11 percent. By 2025, Joinville aims to increase this rate to 20 percent. Currently, the cycling network in the city already has 145 kilometers (90 miles) of cycle lanes and paths. The Urban Mobility Plan outlines a cycling goal, perhaps the most ambitious goal in the whole document: 730 kilometers (453 miles) of dedicated bike lanes by 2025. “We have a tight deadline, but once we start to implement this new infrastructure, people will begin to understand the benefits and choose bicycles as their preferred transport option,” comments the President of IPPUJ.
Joinville Implements Infrastructure to Ensure Safe Bicycling. Photo by Mariana Gil / WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities
The Master Plan of Non-Motorized Transport also encompasses the Cycling Master Plan and the Walkability Master Plan. By improving the quality of its sidewalks, Joinville wants to establish “Safe Routes,” a set of enhanced, standardized walkways connecting schools and hospitals to bus stops. To identify where to implement these Safe Routes, Joinville mapped the “neighborhood centralities,” using WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities’ Transport-Oriented Development Manual as a reference. These are blocks within a neighborhood that have the most urban services, businesses and public equipment, such as green space, sidewalks, street furniture and recreational space.
Seven Steps Ensure Plan Success
The partnership between Joinville and WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities, which began in 2014, helps the city prepare for urban mobility challenges on all fronts, providing technical and financial support. Incorporating the Seven Steps model into Joinville’s urban plans has been very important for the city’s developmental success. “We understand the Seven Steps model is endorsed by the City Statute, including social participation, technical issues organization and transparency, so the population knows what is being done regarding sustainable urban mobility,” asserts Constante. “Every step [in the Seven Step model]—the strategic alignment, workshops with the population, technical analysis and, at the end, the validation of the plan with the city council and public assemblies—has helped to give our Mobility Plan the structure that has guaranteed its success,” he stated.
Planning a city designed for fewer cars and more sustainable mobility options puts Joinville ahead of most Brazilian municipalities, in terms of sustainable development. “Our city can now look safely into the future. Before, the planning process was shorter, considering the city administration mandates. Today, we are able to go beyond that. Urban mobility is essential for a sustainable future,” declares Mayor Döhler.