BRT has changed Brazil, but now operators must look to the future

Bus Rapid Transit, born in Brazil, has improved the lives of millions. With some help from China, Brazilian cities could now be looking to modernise systems. By Xavier Boucherat

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has proven a favourite of Latin American markets for many years, and few cities in the world illustrate its potentially transformative power better than Curitiba, capital of Parana state in the south of the country, and home of the world’s first BRT. Introduced in the 1970s and recipient of a major revamp in 1991, the creation of a bus network which mimics a rail service—with dedicated lanes, multiple entrances and exits along articulated carriages, and payments made at stations—has proven far cheaper, easier to expand and just as efficient as a subway. It is estimated that when created, in partnership with bus operators, infrastructure costs were 50 times less than that of rail.

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