Re*Move, a blog of The Movement Design Bureau, one of my favorite new to me blogs has a short piece on Curitiba:

Lerner had a plan though, and that was to make the bus system a really viable alternative to the car, which was duly achieved by the implementation of a world-class system, which runs both in concentric rings around the city, and crosses through it, is simply coded by colour to identify routes, and uses cylindrical 'tubes' as bus stops. The buses themselves can hold up to 300 people. The whole system has the feel of a tramway - much favoured in Europe - but done at a fraction of the cost.

It's a model we could learn from, particularly in the U.S. where instead of building railroads or subways, we've invested heavily in roads and can leverage that investment to create less expensive mass transit solutions.

The bus-centric transportation system scaled beautifully until the beginning of this decade, when gridlocks on the main streets began to appear. The city administration has plans to install a subway system to take the load of the principal axes. Nowadays, the traffic during rush hour in Curitiba is not something to be proud of, despite still being better than São Paulo, a serious contender for worst driving experience in the world.

BTW, it is very surreal to come across a post mentioning my hometown in a (mostly) technical blog. And regarding Lerner, one thing the man is an expert in, no doubt about it, is marketing... Though there are, to put it lightly, some concerns regarding his expertise in the ethics department. Of course, this is common in municipal administrations worldwide.

Posted by Rafael de F. Ferreira on 2007-11-23

Rafael,

BTW, it is very surreal to come across a post mentioning my hometown in a (mostly) technical blog.

Only slightly more surreal than having someone who has lived in Curitiba comment on my post.

Here in the triangle region of North Carolina there is a lot of activity around public transportation. Note I said 'activity' and not 'progress'. We apparently just missed getting on the list for federal funds for a light rail system. Of course, there is billions of dollars of construction going on in downtown Raleigh including the construction of a convention center, but the proposed light rail system which serviced Raleigh wasn't going to connect to the RDU airport. Just brilliant.

Posted by Joe on 2007-11-24