Brasília, Brazil inaugurates first bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor with presidential flourish
Brazil’s capital city of Brasília launched its first bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor – the Eixo Sul – this past Friday in a ceremony conducted by President Dilma Rousseff and Agnelo Queiroz, Governor of Distrito Federal. EMBARQ Brazil’s Director of Strategic Relations and Development Rejane Fernandes attended the event.
Eixo Sul is the first of four corridors of the Expresso DF BRT system, and connects commuters from the satellite towns of Gama and Santa Maria. At its current capacity, the corridor is expected to carry 20,000 users per hour during peak hours, and will contribute to a 55% reduction in time spent commuting. Once in full operation, the Eixo Sul corridor will cover 43 km and move 220,000 passengers per day.
City and national leaders praise Expresso DF on inaugural ride
On the opening trip of the Eixo Sul corridor, President Rousseff praised the system for giving users time back to live, not commute:
"For me it is an honor to inaugurate Expresso DF due to the quality of what I saw. The time saved means more time in their lives for people who used to spend 1.5 hours commuting and will now spend only 40 minutes."
Governor Queiroz also spoke to the significant reduction in travel time and its impact on quality of life for the system’s users. “We can safely say that every resident, every worker, every homeowner will now have more than an extra hour a day in each direction. In other words, users will gain two hours a day to do with whatever they please.”
The Eixo Sul’s inauguration ceremony was also attended by Tadeu Filippelli, Deputy Governor of Distrito Federal; Aloizio Mercadante, Minister of State and Head of the Civil House of the Presidency; Gilberto Occhi, Minister of Cities; José Walter Vazquez Filho, State Secretary of Transportation; and Jair Tedeschi, Director of DFTrans. President Rousseff was impressed by the turnout: “I believe Brasília is leading a revolution in urban transport. I’ve been visiting several cities, and in many of them we have high quality BRTs, but here we have a project that is extremely ambitious and will turn Brasília into an example of urban mobility”.
Reducing emissions to fight climate change and improve air quality
Beginning in 2013, Brasília has made significant investments in the renovation of its bus fleet. In total, 90% of the fleet has already been replaced by buses with improved fuel and emissions technology. On top of that, restructuring routes and lines will help reduce the overall kilometers traveled and improve efficiency.
The city expects these measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 200,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, a 55% reduction. Furthermore, particulate matter emissions – the number one contributor to local air pollution and respiratory health issues – will be reduced by as much as about 95 tons per year, a whopping 97% reduction.
EMBARQ Brazil and the Expresso DF system
Eixo Sul is the first of four corridors that will form the Expresso DF system, serving Brasília’s 2.8 million residents and linking the satellite cities of Gama and Santa Maria to the city center. Together with Eixo Norte, Eixo Oeste, and Eixo Sudoeste, the system will total 150 km and is expected to serve 600,000 passengers each day.
With mayors from cities across the country visiting Brasília on a regular basis, a successful Expresso DF system can also inspire other cities to prioritize sustainable transport.
EMBARQ Brazil has provided a range of services to improve the design and implementation of the system:
Strategic Alignment: Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the city in 2010, EMBARQ Brazil conducted two workshops with the team responsible for Expresso DF’s implementation. These workshops convene key stakeholders to analyze risks and opportunities and reorganize strategies to ensure the project’s success and timely delivery. The last workshop was attended by 55 city officials and private bus operators, as well as the Secretary of Transport and the Deputy Governor. Filippelli expressed his satisfaction with the partnership, stating, “EMBARQ Brazil brings us technical expertise that adds value to our work."
From left to right: Transport Secretary of Distrito Federal, José Walter Vazquez Filho; Vice-Governor of Distrito Federal, Tadeu Filipelli; and EMBARQ Brazil's President Toni Lindau, during EMBARQ Brazil's Strategic Alignment Workshop on February 6, 2013. Photo by Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brazil.
Day 1 of Expresso DF Eixo Sul Operations: Learning from of the international best practices cities that already have successful BRT systems is critical. EMBARQ Brazil brought together experts from Bogotá, Colombia’s TransMilenio and Santiago, Chile’s TranSantiago systems to share successes and challenges faced during the first days of operation. The workshop resulted in the preparation of operating manuals and contingency plans for the new system. Day One of Operations is sponsored by FedEx and The Bus Rapid Transit Center of Excellence.
Road Safety Auditing: Road safety auditing helps identify potential safety hotspots along a given corridor, ensuring a safe BRT system for passengers and drivers preventing traffic crashes. EMBARQ Brazil’s recommendations for the Eixo Sul corridor resulted in the implementation of guardrails that guide pedestrians and make crossing at the BRT stations safer and more accessible, saving lives. This work is made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Read more about the launch of the Expresso DF Eixo Sul in Portuguese from EMBARQ Brazil.