January 06, 2015

2015 Sustainable Transport Award Finalist: São Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo Biker Lady

In 2014, São Paulo, Brazil dedicated itself to promoting sustainable mobility, making progress on issues from public transit to parking and building a culture of open innovation along the way. Among the city’s advances this year include adding 320 kilometers of exclusive bus lanes, implementing bike lanes faster than ever before, and passing a watershed Master Plan with precedent setting parking reform included. These improvements, impressive in their own right, lay the groundwork for further gains and set the city on a sustainable course.

Sao Paulo_bike lane_homepageWith São Paulo’s 320 new kilometers of exclusive bus lanes, public transit is faster and more efficient. Average travel time for passengers on these routes has decreased 18.4% as speeds have increased from 13.8 km to 16.8 km. It is estimated that these improvements have reduced CO2 emissions 1.9 tons/day.

Meanwhile, the city has been adding bike lanes faster than ever before. Starting from fairly low levels of bike infrastructure, the city has increased its coverage to over 108 km of protected bike lanes, citywide. By the end of 2015, the city hopes to have 400 km implemented. The new dedicated road space will provide safer travels for those on bicycles, including users of the city’s cycle-share system, which now has over 1500 bikes at 158 stations.

Sao Paulo_Parklet_2etapa20_onstreet parkingPerhaps the city’s biggest accomplishment, though, was the City Council’s passage of a new Master Plan for the city. Among the Plan’s improvements are policies addressing social housing, transit-oriented development, and pedestrian accessibility. In addition, the Plan includes the landmark step of eliminating parking requirements along transit corridors city wide. The new off-street parking regulations allow only one space per residential unit or one parking space per 70 square meters of floor space for non-residential. These restrictions will reduce approximately 4,000 parking spaces, or more than 10% of the city’s roughly 37,000 spaces.

São Paulo’s commitment to improving mobility has made the city a more vibrant, inviting place. From the expansion of parklets to running programs encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation using transit data, the city has addressed transportation from nearly every angle, and set the course for a stronger, more equitable city to come.


RSVP For the 2015 Sustainable Transport Award, January 13, 2015 in Washington D.C.


Since 2005, the STA has been given annually to a city that has implemented innovative and sustainable transportation projects in the past year. These strategies must improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, as well as improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

The 2015 finalists will be honored at a reception at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 13, 2015, during the Transport Research Board annual conference in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend the STA ceremony, click here to RSVP.

Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include: Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014) Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Medellin, Colombia and San Francisco, United States (2012); Guangzhou, China (2011); Ahmedabad, India (2010); New York City, USA (2009); London, UK (2008); Paris, France (2008); Guayaquil, Ecuador (2007); Seoul, South Korea (2006), and Bogotá, Colombia (2005).



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