Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lesson from Curitiba - Urban Planning Excellence

Three decades of thoughtful city planning The city of Curitiba provides the world with a model in how to integrate sustainable transport considerations into business development, road infrastructure development, and local community development. Curitiba first outlined its Master Plan in 1965, with the main goals of limiting central area growth and encouraging commercial and service sector growth along two structural north-south transport arteries, radiating out from the city center. The Master Plan also aimed to provide economic support for urban development through the establishment of industrial zones and to encourage local community self-sufficiency by providing all city districts with adequate education, health care, recreation, and park areas. The plan called for the integration of traffic management, transportation, and land-use planning to achieve its goals, and maintained flexibility in its regulations to allow for different future development scenarios. The Master Plan established the guiding principle that mobility and land use can not be disassociated with each other if the city's future design is to succeed. In order to fulfill the goals of the Master Plan in providing access for all citizens, the main transport arteries were modified over time to give public transport the highest priority. Each of the five arteries contains one two-way lane devoted exclusively to express buses. This inner lane is flanked on either side by 1) a local access lane for cars and 2) a high-capacity one-way route for use by both cars and buses. Separating traffic types and establishing exclusive bus lanes on the city's predominant arteries helped to mold two defining characteristics of the city's transport system: a safe, reliable, and efficient bus service operating without the hazards and delays inherent to mixed-traffic bus service; and densification of development along the bus routes. About 1,100 buses make 12,500 trips per day, serving 1.3 million passengers. Five different types of buses operate in Curitiba: Express buses operate exclusively on the arteries' dedicated busways. "Rapid" buses operate on both the arteries and on other main streets throughout the city, and their routes are changed to respond to demand. These buses stop at tube-shaped stations designed for protection from the weather and for quick bus entry and exit. They also accommodate the handicapped. A new "bi-articulated" bus, introduced in December, 1992, is a form of rapid bus operating on the outside high-capacity lanes. Bi-articulated buses - the largest in the world - are actually three buses attached by two articulations, and are capable of carrying 270 passengers. "Inter-district" buses bring passengers between the city's sectors lying between the arteries, and thus provide a crucial link between the routes of the express and bi-articulated buses. Finally, "feeder" buses mix with traffic on all other city streets and bring passengers to transfer stations called "District Terminals," around which local urban development and commercial activity has flourished. Curitiba's buses are privately-owned by ten companies, managed by a quasi-public company. With this public-private collaboration, public sector concerns (e.g. safety, accessibility, and efficiency) are combined private sector goals (e.g. low maintenance and operating costs). The bus companies receive no subsidies; instead all mass transit money collected goes to a fund and companies are paid on a distance travelled basis.


Baba said...

People should read this.

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