Working with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI developed an easy-to-use method for cities to create plans for greater sustainable mobility. The method emphasizes public and non-motorized transport and community engagement, representing a major shift in Brazil’s urban planning. Successfully implemented plans will benefit millions of people in more than 3,000 cities.

The Challenge

In the last 15 years, Brazil’s public transport ridership dropped 15 percent, while the country’s car fleet nearly tripled and its motorcycle fleet grew five-fold. These trends exacerbate congestion and pollution and contribute to climate change. In 2012, after decades of unplanned urban growth and lack of investment in basic infrastructure, Brazil implemented the National Urban Mobility Policy, which requires cities with more than 20,000 residents to develop an Urban Mobility Plan to improve mobility and promote sustainable development. The law affects more than 3,000 cities and demands significant expertise to be successfully implemented.

WRI’s Role

Collaborating with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI drew on its experience in designing and implementing sustainable mobility projects to create a Seven Steps method for cities to use in developing Urban Mobility Plans. The method emphasizes the importance of public and non-motorized transport and outlines how to engage civil society in the planning process.

Officially endorsed and published by the Ministry of Cities in 2015, Seven Steps has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. WRI and the Ministry also offered over 20 workshops on the method, attended by representatives of more than 300 cities. WRI now provides direct support to 18 cities – home to 24 million people – in the development of their Urban Mobility Plans and projects through strategic planning and capacity-building events, training in civic engagement, and technical support on project implementation, particularly on non-motorized transport and public transport. The team also shares experiences and good practices from other cities.

The Outcome

Cities in Brazil are taking action to implement their Urban Mobility Plans and projects, reshaping congested, car-centric cities to favor active and public transport. As of August 2016, over 170 cities had already developed their plans. As a result, millions of Brazilian city dwellers will experience a safer, healthier, more inclusive and accessible urban environment. Examples of projects implemented to date include low-speed zones, expanded sidewalks, and new bus and cycling lanes. The process has changed the paradigm of urban mobility planning in Brazil by emphasizing community involvement from the outset and shifting from building roads for cars to building cities for people.