Synergia analyzes the inclusive public transport system and assesses the impact of BRT Aricanduva

Posted in: 04/13/2021

Synergia Consultoria Socioambiental, in partnership with two other Spanish companies, Multicriteria Planning (MCrit) and Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya (Eurecat), was hired by the World Bank World Bank to carry out an analysis on an inclusive public transportation system, focusing on socially vulnerable groups in the city of São Paulo (SP). It is also expected that the consortium companies build a methodology capable of evaluating the benefits of the BRT Aricanduva Project, an initiative capable of reducing travel times through exclusive lanes and promoting quality in public transport.

After identifying the geographic, transport, socioeconomic and individual barriers that prevent a portion of the population from becoming public transport users in São Paulo, the consortium will make recommendations to the World Bank in accordance with national and international best practices on inclusive measures.  Among the experiences mapped, there are mechanisms to increase the perception of safety, monitoring and training programs, programs to improve access to school, programs of inclusive rates and universal accessibility.

Women at a bus stop: BRT and transport safety
Photo: Synergia

Among the expected results of the financing of the Aricanduva BRT Project, it is expected to improve efficiency in the Bus Operational Control Center, which monitors the entire fleet of 15,000 vehicles.  Trips will gain punctuality, speed and safety.  The BRT Aricanduva project provides for the installation of cameras at the stations, signage, public lighting and accessibility for people with disabilities.  Thus, the population will be able to move more easily to work, school and other activities.  This means fewer cars on the road and reduced carbon emissions, which help to lessen the impacts of climate change and therefore ensure a future with a better quality of life.  Coherent, therefore, with Synergia’s commitment to offering socially fair and environmentally sustainable solutions.

But there are still many challenges ahead.  In a city like São Paulo, with 11.8 million inhabitants (FUNDAÇÃO SEADE, 2020), people waste hours in traffic.  The poor population is most affected by the lack of urban mobility, resulting in less access to jobs, educational institutions and other opportunities.  According to the IBGE (2010), the average travel time for city dwellers, between home and work, is 51 minutes.  This average travel time is higher than that found in Rio de Janeiro (46 min.), Salvador (44 min.), Manaus (41 min.) and Belo Horizonte (39 min.).  Around 31% of trips made for work exceed one hour.

The implementation of the Aricanduva CorridorBus Rapid Transit(BRT), or “Rapid Bus Transport”, promises to improve the mobility of the city’s East Zone residents. More than 1.2 million people live in areas close to the Corridor, 52% of which are highly vulnerable, including 29,000 families residing in favelas.  Every day, around 290,000 people use the Aricanduva Corridor service.  These users lose, on average, 100 minutes a day in traffic, which is equivalent to 26 days in a year.

BRT transport system will benefit wheelchair users
Photo: Synergia

The knowledge accumulated in the study carried out by Synergia, in partnership with the companies MCrit and Eurecat, will allow the dissemination of measures to deal with situations of immobility or insufficient mobility in the region.  Through it, trips not carried out, suspended or postponed will be identified, which directly influence the deprivations of the population.  Although its main objective is to identify the main barriers that reduce the mobility of the target population and to help in proposing policies to encourage and increase access, these data can help to build an overview of how the lives of the local population can be impacted by the lack of inclusive, accessible and quality public transport.

To better understand the intensity of the impacts, we can consult some of the statistics provided by official bodies.  The National Association of Public Transport (ANTP) points to the commitment of 21% of the minimum wage to public transport expenses [1].  Other national capitals have lower percentages, such as Rio de Janeiro (20%), Porto Alegre (20%), Salvador (19%) and Recife (17%).

Here are the “homeless people with a roof”, people who sleep on the streets even though they have houses or places to spend the night.  However, they prefer to save the money they would have spent on the transport fare to cover food expenses.

On the outskirts of São Paulo is the largest share of workers with informal jobs.  The Inequality Map pointed out, in 2017, the offer of 7 formal jobs for every 10 inhabitants in the city of São Paulo.  This rate is reduced to 2 formal jobs for every ten inhabitants in the region covered by the BRT Aricanduva (REDE NOSSA SÃO PAULO, 2019).

SP public transport map, BRT Aricanduva
Map of public transport in the city of São Paulo (prepared by Gabriele Pantoja) – Click on the image to enlarge

The impact of lack of mobility also affects other areas that can represent damage, including to the health of local communities, highlighting inequalities.  Data available for the District of Aricanduva, for example, reveal a difference between the percentage of non-black mothers with insufficient prenatal care (33.9%) and black mothers (40.6%).  Racial inequality in prenatal care is even more accentuated in upscale neighborhoods, such as in the Pinheiros region, where the difference between the insufficient prenatal rate of non-black and black mothers is, respectively, 10.15% and 48 .23% (SINASC, 2017).  It is necessary to emphasize that prenatal care is essential in order to avoid risks to both the health of the pregnant woman and the baby[2].  The lack of follow-up can be a decisive factor and interfere not only in the population’s quality of life, but also in the mortality rates of the region and the country.

The consequences of the lack of mobility and adequate transport conditions are also reflected in two other groups that already face constant social issues.  In addition to the problems related to prejudice, discrimination and daily violence, women and LGBTQIAP+ suffer from violence on public transport and live daily with a feeling of insecurity.  The Public Opinion Survey carried out by Ibope revealed that women are also the ones who walk the most.  The lack of public lighting, narrow streets and the long distances between transport stations and the place of residence are some of the factors that contribute to the fear of walking on the streets and act as barriers to urban mobility.  Therefore, the study and mapping of these risk areas, and the subsequent implementation of improvements in the city’s infrastructure – specifically designed for these groups -, is extremely important to reduce inequalities, increase safety and ensure an increase in the quality of local life.

Synergia has been standing out in the consultancy market with intelligence services and rigorous modeling to measure the effects of treatment of actions and/or public policies for road infrastructure.  The assessment of the socio-economic impacts of investments rewards the best planning and accumulation of successful practices in urban management for reapplication and expansion.  The company’s objective, in addition to the specific measures in the implementation of a project, such as planning and care in the development of adequate infrastructure, goes mainly through the positive social impacts that they can have for the local community and for society as a whole.


Directorate of Socioterritorial Development

Text prepared by Vinicius Corrêa – Studies and Research Manager

[1] Public transport fare collected by ANTP multiplied by 50 trips per month divided by the January minimum wage of the respective year (< studies-complementares.html>, accessed in November 2020).

[2] Services offered by SUS, advantages and main objective of prenatal care.


Sites about the BRT Aricanduva:

SDG9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG11 – Sustainable cities and communities

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