On April 3, 2019, after four years of dialogue, the city hall of Rio de Janeiro published in the Official Gazette the decree that established the Plan for Sustainable Urban Mobility of Rio de Janeiro (PMUS). This achievement happened due to the efforts of a number of organizations, such as CIFF , Hewlett , iCS, OAK Foundation , ITDP Brasil and LAB Rio – the last two organized meetings and discussions with several civil society organizations such as Transporte Ativo , Casa Fluminense , IBDD , IPPUR/UFRJ , Quero Metrô , among others, to help establish the concepts and goals. Representatives from neighborhood associations, cyclists and taxi drivers were also part of this movement.

“The PMUS had a broad participatory process during its preparation. This was positive because the population could better understand the process of drafting the legislation. After four years, the policy has become a decree and the focus has now turned to the implementation of the initiatives guided by the plan. Furthermore, it is important to follow up the other actions deriving from the PMUS process, such as the Cycle Path Master Plan, in order that the promotion of sustainable urban mobility is truly effective,” says Clarisse Linke, the director of ITDP Brasil.

Among the orientation guidelines of the PMUS, the following are highlighted: the integration with the policy of urban development and the respective sectoral policies of housing, basic sanitation, planning and management of land use within the scope of the federal entities, and the prioritization of modes of active transport over motorized transport. With respect to the operation of the Plan, the municipal government estimates, for example, that it should encourage the systematic use of public transport and active transport in everyday activities, and prioritize and guarantee the areas that are required for the implementation of the mobility infrastructure, including new urban projects.

Although the publication in the Official Gazette is a major advance, it is necessary to know the next steps – and there are many. “It was a very long process, more than was expected, and the iCS acted primarily through its grantees ITDP Brasil and Casa Fluminense. The most important thing now is to know whether the PMUS will be made compatible with other public policies, such as the Master Plan, which is indispensable. Another point is: Rio de Janeiro has a very particular dynamic, with thousands of people coming daily from other municipalities to work. In other words, it is necessary to think beyond the formal boundaries of the city and to coordinate everything with the other municipalities,” says Walter Figueiredo de Simoni, who coordinated the transport portfolio at iCS between 2015 and 2018.

The work now enters a new stage, but the period that the city of Rio de Janeiro is going through could be an obstacle, explains Marcel Martin, the current transport coordinator at iCS.

“There are two scenarios today. The ongoing impeachment process with the mayor Marcelo Crivella has the potential to disrupt. At the same time, it is the last year of his mandate, which signifies there may be a political will to demonstrate more service due to the elections next year. In any case, the actions of urban mobility, as a rule, are medium and long term, and what we hope to see is the beginning of an implementation. We have the ITDP and Casa Fluminense to monitor this process with indicators” he says.

Another point to be observed closely, according to Martin, are the developments of the Plans of Sustainable Development and of Climate Action of Rio de Janeiro, which need to be integrated with the PMUS.

Read RIO DECREE no 45781 in full here .

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