Green City: Bus Rapid Transit and Urban Planning in Curitiba

Curitiba - Pioneer of Citywide BRT in a World City

Curitiba, Brazil, has an extensive bus rapid transit system, an example of sustainable transit for the rest of the world, serving more than 60% of the city's commuters.

Panoramic view of Curitiba

Bus Rapid Transit in Curitiba


Green City Bus Rapid Transit And Urban Planning In Curitiba
BRT station in Curitiba

The bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Curitiba, Brazil, is one of the greatest examples of sustainable transport in a city, using buses, in the world today.

More than 60% of commuters in Curitiba travel using the bus system.

The BRT bus network of Curitiba operates like an above-ground subway. Many Curitiba bus routes have their own express lanes on highways.

Green City Bus Rapid Transit And Urban Planning In Curitiba
BRT route in Curitiba

Buses in the city run frequently throughout the day and night, among other ways that the efficiency of bus travel is enhanced; such as the substantial number of bus stations and bus routes throughout Curitiba.

Additionally, the loading and unloading of passengers are made even with the bus tube stations by the use of platforms lowered from bus doors in the bus fleet of Curitiba's BRT network.

Curitiba has become an international model for sustainable development because it puts its people first, and plans in a strategic and integrated way.

The city was led in the 1970s and 1980s by Mayor Jaime Lerner, who imagined the ideal and helped create what the city has become today. In 1974, Jaime Lerner launched one of the world's first bus rapid transit systems in Curitiba. Many features of Curitiba's BRT network are a first-of-its-kind, pioneering approach to BRT.

Green City Bus Rapid Transit And Urban Planning In Curitiba
Bus rapid transit in Curitiba

The following quote from The Guardian highlights the pioneering development of BRT systems in Curitiba:

"Jaime Lerner called for a revamped [bus] station design that enabled faster boarding through multiple doors, and fares would be exchanged before entering the station – similar to subway or light-rail systems.

Offboard payment would also allow for the creation of transfer stations, meaning one fare would cover the entire system. To top it off, Lerner gave the stations a distinctive look by placing them in futuristic glass tubes. These new “tube stations” debuted in October 1991 as part of the first Ligeirinho express line. Today there are 357 tube stations throughout the city. With this important addition, the city’s system became the world’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) network." 

[quote from  -]

Biofuel Buses in Curitiba


Curitiba is heavily invested in alternative low-carbon fuel technologies, predominantly biofuels; and operates what stand as the pioneering biodiesel-only buses in Latin America.

In 2009, Curitiba began using biofuel-only energy-efficient buses as part of the city's BRT vehicle fleet (and has since added hybrid buses to the city's fleet).

Biofuel buses, and hybrid electric + biofuel buses, produce over 25% less greenhouse gas emissions than regular buses; and are cost-efficient, along with being fuel-efficient.

Cities worldwide using just some of Curitiba's bus practices could greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from mass transit.

Urban Planning in Curitiba


Green City Bus Rapid Transit And Urban Planning In Curitiba
View from Passauna Park, Curitiba

Curitiba has almost 600 square feet of green space per resident, mostly in the form of municipal parks.

Curitiba has its residents' well-being as the priority of its layout, with over 90 miles of bike paths and many shopping areas built around pedestrian-only zones.

Curitiba Brazil
Botanical Garden of Curitiba

As part of the city's aesthetically beautiful city design, there are 16 major parks and 14 forests in the metro area. At one point in the early planning stages, 1.5 million trees were planted throughout the city.

Here is a quote from an article in The Guardian about the history of green urban planning in Curitiba that dates back over 50 years when sustainable city design was first embraced in the city:

Curitiba, Brazil

"...first as planner, then as mayor – [Jaime] Lerner would develop a radically different vision for Curitiba: “It was a change in the conception of the city. Working, moving, living leisure ... we planned for everything together. Most cities in South America separate urban functions – by income, by age. Curitiba was the first city that, in its first decisions, brought everything together.

Today...Curitiba has become the gold standard in sustainable urban planning; [the city is known as] the “greenest city on Earth”, and the “most innovative city in the world”. 

[quote from  -]

Today, Curitiba is best known as a pioneer of sustainable mass transportation, however, Curitiba also has one of the highest rates of recycling of any city in the world. Click & read:

Recycling and education in Curitiba

Green City Bus Rapid Transit And Urban Planning In Curitiba
Tangua Park, Curitiba