Future Pathways of Latin American Cities: Land Use Policy for Achieving Sustainable Mobility. A Case Study of the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area.
Nominated for The Planning for Sustainable Land Use and Transport Award
Jose Renato Barandier Jr, Niteroi Urban Planning and Mobility Secretariat
This paper illustrates and discusses the Niteroi Central Area Urban Requalification Project as a sustainable mobility policy and documents the current planning results, which involved public participation mechanisms.
The city of Niterói is the second wealthiest city in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and is the former capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro. After constructing the Rio-Niterói Bridge, Niterói and the other municipalities of the Metropolitan East Side experienced intense urbanisation in the form of car-based suburbs. Presently, this trend has forced the municipalities to address the challenges associated with transport, such as increasing motorisation, vehicle-kilometres travelled (VKT), and traffic congestion. These changes increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and commuting time, amongst other urban diseconomies.
In 2013, the Niterói municipal administration recognised that transport trends were not sustainable and that existing policy frameworks seemed unlikely to move society towards more sustainable transport and mobility. A new approach to public policies related to transport and land use that would be consistent with the broad definition of sustainable development was required. Therefore, a new planning package was initiated to define performance criteria and planning goals. The ‘backcasting’ method was used to develop policies and strategies for achieving the desired performance targets. Therefore, the scenarios show that the following two types of investments are necessary:
1. Re-urbanisation of public spaces as a value-added measure to attract inhabitants to the central area by considering the trend associated with densification and the types of transport that embrace sustainability.
2. Infrastructure to increase public transport supply systems in accordance with the existing suburban demand, bearing in mind the high costs of implementation of railways or the substantial land consumption of bus rapid transit (BRT).
The transport infrastructure responds to the actual demand, but it can be compromised depending on how the types of land usage shape the extent of the population growth. Niterói’s central area is within a ferry catchment area, which represents structural transport access through the metropolitan region, but the challenge of shaping transport demand starts in how to densify an area where population is escaping from. In this way, other challenges arise: achieve mix use, promoting walking and cycling, creating connectivity and raising scarce funds to invest in transport networks to promote a modal shift. In other words, if one of the two kinds can be auto financed, the public sector will be able to invest in the other.
Thus, this paper illustrates and discusses the Niteroi Central Area Urban Requalification Project as a sustainable mobility policy. This study documents the current planning results, which involved public participation mechanisms.
Association for European Transport