Bus rapid transit in Curitiba, Brazil: A look at the outcome after 35 years of bus-oriented development

Curitiba, the world’s cradle for bus rapid transit (BRT), is an affluent city in Brazil. Its integrated transit network (RIT) is one of the most successful bus transit systems in the Western Hemisphere. RIT is the result of 35 years of continuous upgrades to bus service, which ultimately led to the creation of the BRT concept and lent structure to Curitiba’s urban development. The recently inaugurated Green Line (Linha Verde) is the backbone of a renewed urban structural concept, with a linear park and the redevelopment of low-density, industrial properties. The line takes full advantage of evolved BRT concepts, such as cleaner vehicles and fuels and the introduction of passing lanes at stations to increase capacity and improve commercial speeds. The success of Curitiba derives from a mix of political leadership, innovation, pragmatism, technocracy, and continuity. This paper presents Curitiba’s main transit milestones over time, barriers to planning and implementation, and measures adopted to solve or mitigate them. A series of recommendations includes (a) improvements in the delivery of quality of service to transit users, (b) conduct of a homebased origin-destination survey to identify the mobility pattern within the metropolitan area, and (c) consideration of value capture mechanisms and public-private partnerships in transit projects.