Inside the Brazilian Public Transportation


BRAZIL (BDCi) — When a country or a city is chosen to host a sporting worlwide event, like a World Cup Soccer or Olympics, they are actually required to provide information about how efficient their transportation systems is, so visitors would be able to conveniently travel from point A to B without any problems.

On that note, Brazil has an immense challenge to change their image, which is not consistent with today’s reality, the country has an extensive experience in the production of buses, serving all segments of this mode, but that does not favor the adoption of efficient systems capable to meet high demands of passengers with the operation of modern vehicles with high carrying capacity.

If the country really wants to fully fullfil FIFA’s World Cup requirements for 2014, a year from now, it will definitely need a short-term solution deployment and reduced costs compared to rail systems. So the cliche question comes out: Is Brazil really prepared to host an event as large as the World Cup in 2014? Or the Olimpic Games in 2016? We also dare to question if the country was successful hosting the World Youth Day this year?

There are diverse issues to think about. There are still many questions that refer studies and improvements. Among them, the public transportation system is a key factor.



The Brazilian transportation system is primarily defined by an extensive array road. It’s also served by a limited system of river transport (despite the numerous watershed system in the country), rail and air. The Brazilian road network has around 1.6 million kilometers long (of paved and unpaved). More than half of the road is located in the South and Southeast, which concentrate 73% of the Gross Domestic Product. The aim of a transport network linking the whole country was born with developmental democracies, especially those of Getulio Vargas and Juscelino Kubitschek. At that time, the symbol of modernity and progress in terms of transportation was the automobile. This sparked a special attention of rulers mentioned in road construction. Since then, Brazil has a road network based on road transport.

Despite having one of the most extensive road networks in the world, Brazil’s efficiency is still far behind compared to the major economies of the world, with only 13% of paved roads. In contrast, the United States, with characteristics similar territorial, are cut by 4.37 million km of paved roads, 20 times greater than that of Brazil (214,000 km).

The United States has an extensive road network, rail and waterways. In fact, the mileage of these meshes are the largest in the world in their respective categories. There are about 75,000 km of highways and high-capacity expressways. For every 100 inhabitants, there are approximately 75 motorized vehicles (cars, trucks and buses) and 56.1 cars. Trucks carry about a quarter of all freight transported in the country.

Trains carry about 35% of all freight transported in the country, while accounting for only 1% of passengers handled. The opposite happens with American Airlines, which carry the passenger 18% but less than 1% of the load in the country. The U.S. market for passengers in the airline industry is the largest in the world. New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, DC and San Francisco stand out as major centers airport.

About 15% of all freight transported in the country is transported by waterways such as rivers and lakes, and seas and oceans. Los Angeles-Long Beach, New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami and Houston stand out as major port centers. The busiest port in the United States by number of ships served is to New Orleans, while the country’s busiest port in tonnage of cargo handled, is the Los Angeles-Long Beach.


Brazil had the worst performance among the major economies of the world in the domestic air transport market in March this year. According to the monthly survey from the International Air Transport Association (Iata), the total passengers in the country fell 1.4% in March compared to the same month last year.

“In Brazil, the fall is a result of significant capacity cuts by airlines, which have been pressured by lower profitability amid slower growth than expected in economy,” the report says.

There are several key points that need attention. As the public transport, Brazil still needs to ask whether a specific improvement would be enough. Improves up here, worse up there.

Perhaps the protests that took the streets of several cities in Brazil in June this year were a “bucket of cold water” on the head of many governors and the President Dilma Rousseff and finally the country will walk up on progressive improvement.

After all, the country, which is the land of soccer and excited, warm and hard working people, actually needs less samba and more changes. It is not an easy road, it never been. But since the Brazilians are known as “those who never give up”, maybe it just needs a little push, an incentive that leads to success.



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