Por Andréia Coutinho Louback
No matter what the means of transport, whether you are on an empty street or stuck in a traffic jam, we are all traveling through mobility month. Officially, September brings us multiple opportunities to reflect on one of the most important itineraries throughout Brazil. Thousands of cities and organizations are promoting initiatives, events and discussion forums on the most diverse modes of locomotion, policies of employment and public transport as a social right. According to the goals of Agenda 2030 , “sustainable cities and communities” is the eleventh of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which seek to guarantee access to safe systems of transport at an affordable price, road safety, an increase in inclusive urbanization and much more.
Because passenger transport is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazilian cities, we believe in the urgent need to broaden the debate on urban mobility. However, where to start? A good way is to discourage the use of individual motorized vehicles, to accelerate investment in good quality public transport and the fight for the reduction of territorial inequalities.
Henrique Silveira, the executive coordinator of the Casa Fluminense, emphasizes that speaking about full mobility goes much further than just transport. “Urban mobility is the access to the city. It is our right to have access to employment, work, services, opportunities and leisure from where we live. However, it is also a significant discussion about urban planning and how we distribute opportunities more equitably in the country,” he explains. In other words, it is not only about a method of travel, but also about urban re-ordering and how to structure an entire system of possible transport methods for all the population – especially those who live in the outskirts.
The Brazilian scenario of mobility is extremely chaotic. Evidence of this could be found in the American survey Expert Market, which analyzed the world’s main centers of transport and indicated Rio de Janeiro as the worst classification among the 74 ranking positions. Brasilia, Salvador and Sao Paulo also occupied negative positions – 68, 70 and 72, respectively.
“Rio has the largest travel time between home and work in the country. What society wants are answers so that we can get out of this uncomfortable condition, which drains the quality of life of the population as a whole, the working classes and all those who need to travel long distances every day” says Silveira.
In these pre-election times, the Casa Fluminense is requesting action by the legislative and executive branch regarding the five points consolidated in the chapter on urban mobility in the Agenda Rio 2030 . These seek to increase the number of the metropolitan trains and subways and their frequency, the expansion of investment in public transport, the reduction of the time intervals, the modernization of the stations and the improvement in accessibility. Added to this, there is the significant problem of individual motorized transport. “We need more structures for pedestrian, bicycle paths and to create more restrictions on car use. This is an important vision of the future in a more human city.”