January 08, 2015

2015 Sustainable Transport Award Finalist: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte Panorama

Using an innovative Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, Belo Horizonte has implemented comprehensive measures to improve mobility across the city. Over the past year, the city launched the first 23 km of the MOVE BRT system, built 27 km of protected bike paths, and pedestrianized streets downtown. These transformations are reducing congestion, emissions and travel times, and a building a more connected, sustainable city.

When the national government directed all major cities in Brazil to develop Urban Mobility Laws, Belo Horizonte was the first city to answer the call. Formalized in late 2013, Belo Horizonte’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, called PlanMob-BH, calls for comprehensive measures to address the city’s transit needs, including using TOD, BRT and bike lanes. In addition, the city created an Observatory of Mobility and a Mobility Council, two important tools of social control that are responsible for providing information and collecting civil society demands for improving mobility.

BIKE 2 - Photo by Mariana Gil - EMBARQ BrasilBelo Horizonte launched the first corridor of the MOVE BRT system in March, following up quickly with a second one in May. Now with 23 km of BRT, the system is carrying 500,000 daily riders, and offering a faster, more comfortable trip. Compared with the previous conventional bus system, the BRT is reducing travel times from 102 to 41 minutes during morning peak-hours. The new BRT system has been complemented by improvements to other transit in the city, including creating priority lanes for traditional buses. The result is fewer vehicle kilometers driven across the city, leading to reduced emissions and a healthier city.

Over the course of 2014, Belo Horizonte built 27 km of new protected bicycle lanes this year, bringing the total up to 70 km. The city has plans to grow the cycle network to 360 km in the coming years. The city’s cycle share, Bike-BH, currently has 34 stations, 340 bikes, and 10,000 members, offering residents alternative transit options around the city.

Guided by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, Belo Horizonte is reshaping the look of the city. In downtown Belo Horizonte, two streets have been pedestrianized, giving this historic part of the city back to the people. Progress is also being made adopting new regulations promoting transit oriented-development and adding new restrictions on the growth of parking. With benefits for the city and residents, Belo Horizonte is setting a strong example for other cities across Brazil.


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 Bogot√°, Colombia (2005).


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