Belo Horizonte Launches First Public Policy in Latin America to Encourage Private Sector Participation in Mobility Management
On October 4th, the Transport and Transit Agency of Belo Horizonte (BHTRANS) launched “Roadmap for developing a Mobility Management Program,” a landmark initiative that works with the private sector to improve urban mobility. The initiative pushes private and public organizations to develop and implement Corporate Mobility Plans that encourage employees to use sustainable transport modes and therefore reduce traffic congestion in the city. A similar initiative, WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities’ partnership with the State Government of Minas Gerais (CAMG), focused on shifting governmental employee commutes from personal to public transit, and its success demonstrated the opportunity for BHTRANS to expand its impact on a city-wide scale. As a result, the BHTRANS Roadmap includes the Brazil team’s publication, Step by Step to Build a Corporate Mobility Plan, and serves to instill within private sector employers and employees a drive to make daily commutes efficient and environmentally friendly. While many companies have taken the initiative to create their own corporate mobility plans, Belo Horizonte is the first city in Latin America to implement this kind of policy.
Targeting Daily Commutes to Alleviate Road Congestion
In cities worldwide, the demand for transport is reflected in the commuting needs of its working residents. As a result, the role of employers, corporations and the private sector is crucial to improve urban mobility. To target the private sector, BHTRANS launched the Roadmap, which motivates private corporations to support Transport Demand Management (TDM) measures and pushes employees to utilize sustainable transport. The shift from private, motorized transport to sustainable modes, such as walking and cycling, means fewer cars on the road, less congestion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year, a promising partnership between WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities and CAMG identified the opportunity to alter employee’s commutes by improving public and non-motorized transport to the workplace, limiting vehicle use and improving employees’ quality of life. The success of this partnership, and the opportunity for large-scale replication, was a major motivation for the BHTRANS Roadmap. As a result, WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities was able to contribute much of the language of the Roadmap. The publication references WRI’s “Step by Step to Build a Corporate Mobility Plan,” a guide that provides a set of actions—seven steps that companies can implement to engage managers and employees in positive commuting habits. The Roadmap’s required actions consider (i) the conditions of new construction—infrastructure and location—and (ii) research to determine employee commuting habits. The BHTRANS publication states: “at minimum, it’s necessary to collect information about the main transport mode used by employees, identify the reasons why people commute the way they do and find out which benefits would encourage a change of behavior.”
According to Luciana Stubbs, the Impact Studies Supervisor of Roadway Guidelines Management in BHTRANS, a department responsible for analyzing and emitting technical evaluations for new construction projects that impact traffic in Belo Horizonte: “WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities and CAMG have helped [her] directors perceive the opportunity to learn and improve actions and knowledge by creating a Mobility Management Program.”
Scaling-up Successes in Transport Demand Management
After implementing the Roadmap’s TDM program, BHTRANS suggests that organizations, both public and private, also establish goals and an action and monitoring plan. This way, BHTRANS will be able to present recommendations to make the corporate mobility plan of each company more comprehensive and effective.
When companies adopt TDM policies, they directly impact the commuting habits of employees. By encouraging walking and cycling, public transport and car pool, companies will not only contribute to the wellbeing of the city and the environment but also benefit their employees and the company itself. This can mean fewer hours wasted commuting in traffic and more time for personal lives. Additionally, with fewer cars on the road, air quality and urban mobility are improved. Furthermore, companies can benefit from reduced parking expenses and increased productivity among employees.
WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities will continue to provide technical support to BHTRANS through capacity building sessions for Roadmap implementation. The partnership also aims to spread Belo Horizonte’s flagship mobility management policy to other Brazilian cities, so that the private sector can become a key partner in pursuing better mobility for all.