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What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

Deep Dive into a Topic

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.


curitiba transport management case study

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What the World's First Bus Rapid Transit System Can Teach Us

curitiba transport management case study

Curitiba, Brazil pioneered the use of bus rapid transit and paved the way for other countries in Latin America and around the world.

Curitiba City, in the Brazilian state of Parana, is widely known as the pioneer for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the world. It was launched in 1974 with conventional buses in mixed traffic. Curitiba was the first city in Brazil to organize private bus operation in catchment areas and the first city in the world to implement a full BRT system.

Through consistent innovation, it has grown from a simple bus system to highly advanced network of bus lines.

curitiba transport management case study

  • 1974 : First two BRT corridors were opened.
  • 1979 : Feeder and interdistrict buses integrated with BRT, creating the Rede Integrada de Transporte (RIT).
  • 1982 : All five major BRT corridors were all functional.
  • 1992 : Iconic circular boarding platforms introduced, along with the use of biarticulated buses to increase system capacity.
  • 2009 : New "Green line" BRT corridor was opened.
  • $1.5 million ($8.5 million, 2012 equivalent) : Estimated cost per kilometer in 1971
  • $1.25 (2012 equivalent) : Single fare cost
  • $60 million in 2009 ($64 million, 2012 equivalent) : Estimated cost of initial 9.4 km long segment of the "Green Line"
  • $200,000 ($214,000, 2012 equivalent) : Estimated construction cost per kilometer (at the time of construction)

Institutions / Stakeholders

  • Citizens of Curitiba
  • City of Curitiba
  • URBS (Curitibas Transportation planning agency)
  • IPUCC (Curritiba's urban development authority)
  • Local businesses

With 1.8 million inhabitants occupying about 432 km 2 land area, Curitiba is one of the 10 most populous cities in Brazil. The city also has the highest private car ownership in the country with almost 400 cars for every 1,000 inhabitants in 2010. Curitiba achieved what other Brazilian cities tried to do. São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro used federal funding available in the 1970s for bus systems performance improvements only, whereas Curitiba used the investment opportunity on busway corridors to direct its future growth.

curitiba transport management case study

Lack of funds stalls mass transit project

In the 1970s, when Curitiba had only 400,000 inhabitants, plans for implementing a light rail transit (LRT) system were prepared. The idea was aborted due to LRT’s high capital costs.

Population continues to grow

The city stands right at the center of a metropolitan area that includes 26 municipalities with a total population of 3.17 million inhabitants. The population of Curitiba´s metropolitan area has increased 9.3 times over the last 50 years (4.6% annual growth) and 2.1 times over the last 20 years.

BRT fills in mass transit challenge

The IPPUC (Institute for Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba) conceived a trunk-and-feeder bus system. This bus system was gradually upgraded until reaching the status of the first full BRT system in the world.

BRT connects more areas, servicing more people

In 1980, with the implementation of the east-west corridor, Curitiba consolidated the basis for the RIT. A single flat fare enabled a cross subsidy between short and long displacements by allowing users to interchange between trunk and feeding services at terminals and tube stations. In 1990, a series of legal arrangements between the State of Paraná and the City of Curitiba empowered URBS (Urban Development Authority of Curitiba) to plan and manage all the transportation modes within the Curitiba metropolitan area.

curitiba transport management case study

Numbers and facts

  • 1.3 million passengers/day
  • 6 BRT corridors
  • 70 km of dedicated lanes
  • 359 stations including 30 terminals
  • Flat fare allows integration between entire bus-based transit network
  • Signature "tube" stations and closed terminals for improve integration level boarding at all BRT stations

curitiba transport management case study

Key statistics

  • 75% of the population commutes using the BRT system
  • 55% RIT accounts for all trips in Curitiba
  • Better air quality Curitiba has significantly better air quality than other Brazilian cities of similar size
  • 18 km corridor, the "Green Line" BRT runs along since opening in 2009
  • 18,000 average people per day, the "Green Line" carried in its first year

Success comes from several elements

Curitiba's success was derived from the following elements: a mix of political leadership, innovation, pragmatism, technocracy and continuity.

As with any other city in Brazil, Curitiba faced periods of turmoil when political administrations challenged the status quo in promoting big changes. But its solid technical entities in charge of urban planning, traffic and transit management--IPPUC and URBS--provided the technical support.

Setting new standards

Over the years Curitiba has been demonstrating to the world its potential to produce creative and relatively low-cost solutions for urban mobility.

With the inauguration of its sixth corridor and the capacity upgrades of existing corridors, Curitiba consolidates 35 years of continuous bus oriented development, and sets new standards for the future of high-performance BRT system.

  • Curitiba BRT Report by the Integrated Transport Systems and BRT systems Alliance
  • Curitiba BRT Video

Ask the Experts

curitiba transport management case study

This case study is from a series of virtual study tours created by The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) as part of a South-South Cooperation Project that facilitates the sharing of best practices in sustainable transport.

View the discussion thread.

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8 Case Study VI. Sustainable Transportation in Latin America. Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Curitiba, Brazil, and TransMilenio in Bogota, Colombia

8.1 introduction.

This chapter examines sustainable transportation solutions for medium-sized cities. The first part describes the integrated, transit-oriented development policy implemented in Curitiba, Brazil, which enabled the most sustainable Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system globally. The second part critically examines the successes of the first phase of the bus rapid transit system in Bogota, known as the Trans Milenio. Next, this chapter critically unpacks the equity and efficiency challenges of the second and third phases of the Trans Milenio. Finally, the third part offers a critical analysis of the benefits of bus rapid transit systems and the barriers to effective implementation.

Learning Objectives

  • Compare transportation systems, including rail-based public transit and bus rapid transit, from the cost-benefit analysis perspective.
  • Understand the mobility challenges of Brazilian cities and identify the city planning factors and policies that resulted in an integrated, transit-oriented development in Curitiba, Brazil.
  • Examine how the TransMilenio BRT in Bogota changes residents’ commutes and contrast who benefits more from its Phases 1 and 2.
  • Analyze how informal transport, i.e., privately owned and operated buses, competes with the BRT system on the Avenida Septima in the city.
  • Identify the broader lessons of bus rapid transit systems in Latin America, which may be adapted for use in other cities in the North and South.
  • Please compare the benefits and challenges of the subway system vs. the BRT system. You can address this question by reading about the BRT TransMilenio in Bogota, Colombia, and Subway Line B in Mexico City.
  • How do Phases 1 and 2 of the BRT TransMilenio change the commutes of residents in Bogota? Who benefits more from Phases 1 and 2?
  • After the success of Phases 1 and 2, what benefits and challenges does Phase 3 present? More specifically, how does informal transport, privately owned and operated buses, compete with the BRT system in the Avenida Septima?
  • What are the limitations of BRT as a transport policy?
  • What can Global South and Northcities learn from Trans-Milenio’s case study?


The face of urban areas worldwide has tremendously changed during the past decades due to the dominance of cars in shaping urban landscapes. However, there is an agreement among scholars and decision-makers that car-dominated cities are not sustainable and have resulted in transportation-related challenges. These challenges range from increased congestion, air pollution, and accidents to environmental problems, energy depletion, visual intrusion, the decline in public transit use, and lack of accessibility to required facilities for underserved populations.

Therefore, countries constantly look for public transport systems that deliver value for money. Rail systems, including heavy rail, metro rail, and light rail transit, have usually been offered as popular options to achieve the goal of developing good public transit (Hensher & Golob, 2008); however, creating a road-based public transit and making better use of bus systems are considered more affordable and achievable options, especially in developing countries and cities (Hensher & Golob, 2008; Pojani & Stead, 2015). Moreover, in many cases and for most residents, road-based public transit is the only way to access jobs, education, health care, and other public services (Pojani & Stead, 2015). However, the literature discusses that in many cities worldwide, the conditions of the road-based public transit services are inadequate to serve their populations’ mobility needs. Especially regarding bus services are often considered unreliable, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and even dangerous (Pojani & Stead, 2015). Therefore, in recent decades, policymakers and planners have introduced some achievable and low-cost strategies, such as painting specific lines on roads allocated for bus use, to enhance the quality of bus services. These low-cost strategies can be combined with technological advances, such as lights automatically turning red for other vehicles and green for buses to give priority to buses and improve the quality of the bus services. Overall, governments have enhanced and expanded BRT systems. However, some BRT systems have not improved transit efficiency, partly because they lack separated or dedicated lanes (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

Therefore, a more practical and effective intervention regarding the bus system has been introduced, which offers the construction of bus lanes separated from other lanes by ng barriers, cones, or different physical features. These separated lanes are either located on the curbside or in the middle of a roadway and are exclusively for the use of public transit (Pojani & Stead, 2015). This system is called bus rapid transit (BRT). This bus-based mass transit is an attractive alternative to rail transit that has been progressively emerging in the last couple of decades in both loping and developed countries (Hensher & Golob, 2008; Pojani & Stead, 2015).

BRT could be implemented in two types: full BRT and light BRT. In either type, BRT is a type of public transit that operates on its right-of-way. High-quality interchanges, integrated intelligent card ticket collection, and quick throughput of people entering and disembarking buses are all features of an entire BRT system.(Hensher & Golob, 2008). Full BRT is considered a more suitable option for larger cities since it can move up to 45,000 passengers per hour per direction, even more than many rail services deliver (Pojani & Stead, 2015). The following image (Table 8.1 ) describes the characteristics of an entire BRT system, which has been implemented in only a few cities worldwide, such as Bogota and Curitiba. Some of the most efficient and cost-effective public transport systems have been developed in Latin America (Pojani & Stead, 2015). Among these, the best practices of BRT are found in Bogota in Colombia and Curitiba in Brazil (Hensher & Golob, 2008). On the other hand, light BRT is a system with some dedicated right-of-way and lesser integration of service and fares (Hensher & Golob, 2008). Light BRT usually moves 13,000 passengers per hour per direction and is appropriate for medium-sized cities (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

 Table 8.1 Characteristics of an entire BRT system.

Source: Pojani & Stead, 2015

Regarding the policy to make BRT systems possible and practical, the literature discusses that BRT systems (especially the entire BRT system) need high commitment and support from political leaders and governments. The best results are achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate. Data shows that more than 150 cities across the globe have developed an operational BRT system, of which 70 at least are in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

Moreover, BRT systems are beneficial in a variety of ways. Analyses have found that the local travel conditions and the quality of public transit performance have significantly improved by introducing BRTs into the public transit system in most cities. Data shows that BRT systems have greatly helped decrease travel time and are more reliable than conventional bus systems. In addition, BRT systems, if appropriately configured, can carry more passengers per hour than many rail systems. Hesher and Golob (2008) found a spectrum where metros and BRT can offer equivalent capacity, between 20,000 and 40,000 passengers (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) per hour daily. However, there are significant variations in upfront costs: $5 to $20 million for HBRT and $30 to $160 million for metros per kilometer, respectively (Hensher & Golob, 2008. Studies also show that users accept the BRT system as a comfortable and reliable mode of public transport (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

In addition, BRT systems are more sustainable and help cities with their environmental issue. In this matter, buses in a BRT system usually use natural gas, electricity, or biofuels, which are much more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. Therefore, energy consumption and emissions are reduced when implementing BRT systems in cities (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

Another considerable advantage of BRTs is that they can be implemented with much lower costs than other types of public transit, such as rail, subway, or metro. BRT, which is far less expensive, effectively mimics the functionality and amenities of a modern rail-based transportation system. A BRT system will typically be four to twenty times less costly than an LRT system and ten to one hundred times less expensive than a metro system (Hensher & Golob, 2008). Also, BRT systems range in price from $1 million to $8 million per kilometer, depending on the size and complexity of the project (the need for overpasses or underpasses and the need for property acquisition. BRT costs less than $10 per kilometer, even in sophisticated cities with more extraordinary labor expenses. BRT could run without subsidies at reasonable charges ($1 per ride) if planned. Other appealing qualities include quick implementation timelines (1–5 years), adaptability to limited space historical areas, and business districts with tiny route segments (Pojani & Stead, 2015).

The literature identifies two primary factors determining whether the transportation project is attractive enough for the government and the media: 1) infrastructure costs and 2) patronage level. These two factors are illustrated in Figures 8.1 and 8.2, respectively. Accordingly, the infrastructure costs (per km), as shown in Figure 8.1, vary from $53.2 million/km to $0.35 million. Figure 8.1 shows lower costs in Asia and Latin America (Hensher & Golob, 2008). On the other hand, Figure 8.3 shows the ridership rates as passengers per hour per direction for different cities.

curitiba transport management case study

Moreover, BRT systems are beneficial in a variety of ways. Analyses have found that the local travel conditions and the quality of public transit performance have significantly improved by introducing BRTs into the public transit system in most cities. Data shows that BRT systems have greatly helped decrease travel time and are more reliable than conventional bus systems. If appropriately configured, BRT systems can carry more passengers per hour than many rail systems. Hesher and Golob (2008) found a spectrum where metros and BRT can offer equivalent capacity, between 20,000 and 40,000 passengers (about twice the seating capacity of Madison conditions are different for different countries, such as the different prices of input, different timelines, and baseline conditions for construction, and different amounts of funding available, still BRTs are considered as an option worth the investment and are known as more sustainable forms of public transit and better cost-effective options in most places around the world (Hensher & Golob, 2008. While BRT systems benefit cities in many ways, problems are still associated with developing and implementing BRTs in many countries worldwide. These problems are related to “rushed implementation, tight financial planning, excessive occupancy levels, early deterioration of infrastructure, poor supervision of the system, insufficient user education for initial implementation and use of the system” (Pojani & Stead, 2015. While many of these problems result from poor levels of policy making and financial planning, and not the BRT system itself, in many cases, these problems affect the public and political opinion about BRT and result in views of BRT as the “second-best option compared to rail.”

8.3 The Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit Systems   

To explain the benefits of BRT systems in terms of mitigating the emission of CO2, in this section, we refer to a scholarly article by Hook et al. (2010), which provides some in-depth analysis of the CO2 impacts of two BRT systems, including Bogota, Colombia, and Mexico City. Different factors determine the GHG impacts of transportation, which are identified in four primary categories, including the level of travel activity (A), the modal structure (S), the fuel intensity (I), and the carbon content of the fuel used (F) (Hook et al., 2010. To understand how GHG emissions are affected by BRTs, Hook et al. (2010) mainly focus on projects that reduce GHG emissions by changes they make in the modal structure (S. This factor has been measured through a methodology introduced by Jurg Grutter (the consultant of the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM) (Hook et al., 2010. Accordingly, this type of project reduces GHG emissions by persuading passengers to change their travel mode from car to bus or by making changes in ways in terms of units (e.g., to switch from a 12 m bus to an 18 m articulated bus), or by changing to higher occupancy modes (e.g., the average passengers per bus might increase from 60 to 150).

8.3.1 Bogotá, Colombia 

The planning and development of the Bogota BRT system started in 1999, and since then, this BRT system has been known as one of the most successful ones worldwide. The responsible agency, TransMilenio, has established an 84 km bus network with 114 stations and 1,080 articulated buses with separate lanes. The buses’ average speed is about 27 km/h, carrying about 1.5 million passengers daily. The first project to obtain CDM credits for lowering GHG emissions per transported unit was TransMilenio. (Hook et al., 2010. According to the CDM methodology, the Reduction in GHG emissions is calculated based on the difference between the emissions produced by the project and the emissions that would be made if the passengers had used their former modes of travel. Thus, in this method, the number of passengers and the distance they would travel is assumed to be constant between 2 cases, and the only change is the mode of transport. Or the method takes that the passengers would use the same way. Still, the number of passengers would increase when using the BRT system (for Bogota, bus capacity increased from 60 to 160 after implementing the BRT system).

The emissions out of the BRT project and the baseline were calculated and compared for different years and are presented in Table 8.2. Scholars found that the GHG mitigation potential of BRT systems is influenced by the extent to which commuters use buses over time. Table 8.3 compares the estimated and effective GHG emissions associated with the TransMilenio system in Bogota from 2006 to 201. Although TransMilenio significantly reduced emissions and congestion in the first years of its implementation, the subsequent phases and the system’s expansion have not been as effective as the first stage. Some users used informal transit or switched to cars, which explains why the estimated emissions were lower than the actual or practical emissions from 2006 to 200. Therefore, GHG assessments of BRT should carefully consider traffic and ridership changes, as Hook and colleagues argued (Hook et al., 2010).

Source: Hook et al., 2010

8.3.2 Mexico City, Mexico

The first BRT corridor in Mexico City started its implementation in 200. This system has 262 micro-buses and 90 buses, of which 97 buses are articulated with higher capacity (160 passengers for each bus) and better fuel efficiency. This BRT system operates along 20 km of roadway on a reserved right-of-way. In 2006, Rogers adopted Gretter’s methodology and estimated that the CO2 emissions would be reduced by 25,887 tons per year due to the implementation and use of this new BRT corridor in Mexico City. Accordingly, 18,000 tons would be avoided by replacing many smaller and less fuel-efficient buses with a smaller number of larger and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Also, emissions fell by another 15,000 tons because of improved mixed-traffic vehicle flow along the BRT corridor. Road construction would result in one-time direct emissions of 38,600 tons. Because of conservative modal shift assumptions, only about 5%, or 1,300 tons of CO2 reductions, were expected to result from the modal shift. (Hook et al., 2010. Although CDM rejected the results reported by Rogers for Mexico City, after using the Grutter method, the results were quite the same, showing a significant reduction in CO2 emissions (Hook et al., 2010. The results of the decline in CO2 emissions due to Mexico City BRT implementation are shown in Table 8.4.

Table 8.4 Emissions Reductions from Mexico City BRT Corridor (Metrobus InsurgentsCorridor)

8.3.3 Comparison between Bogota and Mexico City BRT systems regarding emissions reduction

In general, three main characteristics of the BRT systems are recognized to have the most impact in reducing CO2 emissions, including 1) Projected modal shift, 2) Load Factor (passengers km/bus km), and 3) Speed (Hook et al., 2010. There are some differences between the emission reductions in Bogota and Mexico City. One of the reasons for this difference is related to the difference in modal split in these two cases. The percentage of passengers that moved from private automobiles and taxis in Mexico City was similar to that in Bogotá, but 13% did so from the underground metro system, as shown in Table 8. . Since hydroelectric, thermal, and natural gas is all used in Mexico City, switching from the metro to the bus could not have had the expected CO2 reductio. It could also explain why the CO2 benefit per kilometer for the Bogotá BRT system was twice as high. The effect of the BRT system on mixed traffic is another factor that affects the modal shift. The BRT systems improved mixed-traffic flow in Bogotá and Mexico City due to the modal shift and the elimination of the mixed-traffic lanes of many buses and unofficial low-capacity buses (Hook et al., 2010).

Table 8.5 Previous modes used by BRT passengers in Bogota and Mexico City

8.4 Land-Use Planning and the BRT: Learning from Curitiba

To discuss how a long-term vision of land-use planning and transportation enables the most sustainable BRT system across the globe, in this part, we refer to an article titled Curitiba, the Cradle of bus rapid transit by Lindau et al. (2010. Curitiba is the first Brazilian city to organize and implement a private bus operation in catchment areas and the first city in the world with an entire BRT system. Curitiba is a unique example of integrating transport and land-use planning regarding bus use and implementing a successful bus system worldwide. Incorporating different environmental innovations to launch the system with six corridors and upgrading the existing corridors has made Curitiba the best-case study for a BRT system over the last 35 years (Lindau et al., 2010. Throughout the past 50 years in Curitiba, transport, land use, and environmental management innovations have successfully implemented a citywide transit system perfectly integrated with land-use planning. Curitiba is an excellent example of innovative ideas leading to cost-effective, equitable, and environmentally friendly mobility options.

Curitiba is one of the world’s best examples of integrated transportation and land-use planning while having one of Brazil’s highest percentages of private automobile ownership. (Lindau et al., 2010. Unlike other big cities in Brazil that used federal funding and did not achieve great success in their transportation system, Curitiba used the investment opportunity to enhance its bus system and busway corridors, which led to future growth and made it one of the best cases in incorporating the bus system into a city’s public transit system. However, in the case of other cities in Brazil, their bus corridors are usually implemented in isolation from a firm and systematic regulation or lack political stability, comprehensive long-term land-use planning, and transportation-related strategies. Therefore, in other cities in Brazil (except for Curitiba), the results of the bus systems are partial and inefficient, with overcrowded vehicles that cannot meet the demand (Lindau et al., 2010).

One of the most significant factors in achieving a successful transportation system is having a compelling, long-term vision articulated in a plan, which considers all aspects and issues related to the design and gradually leads to accomplishing the system’s goals. In the case of Curitiba, the three critical periods in the history of modern Curitiba are identified:

  • Planning concepts and aspirations from 1943 to 1970
  • From 1972 to 1988: Plan implementation that resulted in the creation of the Integrated Transit Network, a citywide integrated bus transit system (RIT, from Rede Integrada de Transporte in Portuguese)
  • Metropolitan growth and advancements to the integrated bus transportation system from 1988 to the present

In the 1970s, Curitiba started planning to implement an LRT when its population was only 400,00. However, this plan was canceled due to the expensive costs associated with the LRT system. The Institute for Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba (IPPUC) proposed a trunk-and-feeder bus system running along separated median flow lanes as the main element of the axial transit route in reaction to this abandonment of the projects. (Lindau et al., 2010. This bus system was gradually upgraded until it became the first complete BRT system in the world. In 1980, Curitiba secured the requirements for developing the Integrated Transit Network (RIT. The Urban Development Authority of Curitiba (URBS) later received the authority to plan and oversee all means of transportation within the Curitiba metropolitan region in 1990 after passing various legislative agreements. (Lindau et al., 2010).

Curitiba’s approach to developing and expanding its transportation system is unique to Brazi. It shows that an efficient, practical, and well-planned collaboration between related organizations and parties can lead to successful results. In the case of Curitiba, the two key organizations are IPPUC and URBS, which collaborate in providing traffic solutions and urban planning. Accordingly, the IPPUC consolidates urban development plans, programs, and projects from several administrative entities of Curitiba and its metropolitan region. In contrast, URBS oversees planning and managing transportation in the metro area and provides licenses to bus transit operators (Lindau et al., 2010. Due to this effective collaboration, Curitiba became an iconic city in Latin America in terms of the role of urban planning in providing one of the successful cases that demonstrates the realization of plans that transcend political administration.

Integrated Transit Network or RIT is a municipal initiative whose goal has been to provide integration between transportation planning and land-use planning in Curitiba. Nowadays, 14 cities (out of 26) of the metropolitan area are under RIT’s coverage. The main structure for developing the BRT system started by “providing a backbone of transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative through low-cost and high-impact intervention. Accordingly, the RIT includes the following components:

  • A longitudinally separated median busway
  • Tube stations with level access and ticket prepayment
  • Integration of pricing and delivery across many services
  • Control of dispatch at terminal stations
  • Specialized services (express radial routes, inter-neighborhood circumferential routes, feeder services, downtown circulator using small buses, special services for students, hospitals, and tourists, and centralized fare collection)

In 2007, a total number of 2.26 million trips per working day were performed by RIT, which were done by a fleet of 2,600 buses, and all these trips counted as 483,000 km/day in Curitiba (Lindau et al., 2010. The RIT infrastructure covers 72 km of bus road (busway corridor), 347 stations (tube stations) with level access to the bus, pre-paid tickets, and 29 urban terminals. All data regarding RIT shows that Curitiba used a gradual approach to implement RIT, meaning that every step has been done gradually and carefully in coverage and components. According to y, Table 8.6 depicts a table that shows the development of RIT’s features over decades.

Source: Lindau et al., 2010

With the addition of the new corridor, the Green Line, in 2009, the BRT system in Curitiba introduced more sustainable and practical options, such as cleaner vehicles and fuels, increased capacity, and improvement in commercial speed. This RIT corridor includes every aspect of a modern complete BRT system. In March  010, the system upgraded a hall by introducing a new method of passing lanes at stations. In this u-graded model, the stations were displaced, and parking was eliminated to provide more space for adding a new route and bus to the system. These new buses share the road (busway) but do not stop at every station. The new arrangement boosts the corridor’s capacity to 20,000 people per hour in each direction, citing the data gathered by URBS. The commercial speed is also raised to 25 km/h.(Lindau et al., 2010).

Finally, we can conclude that the main factor that makes Curitiba a successful case in using buses in the public transportation system and having a BRT system is the practical integration between transportation and land-use planning, which becomes possible through effective political leadership and cooperation, being innovative in providing solutions, programming, and planning and adhering to the plans, making the best use of the new technologies, and finally, consistency and continuity.

8.5 An Examination of the Benefits and Implementation Challenges of BRT Systems in Bogota, Colombia

As we discussed in the previous sections, BRT has been known as a cost-effective transportation alternative for sustainable urban mobility. There have been successful cases of initiating and implementing this transportation option worldwide. In addition to the benefits resulting from the BRT system, such as being environmentally friendly, improved mobility, enhanced accessibility, and more equity in transportation, BRT is thought to positively affect land and property values. Although there is no complete consensus over the impact of BRT systems on the land market, empirical studies show that in some cases, such as Bogota, Colombia, better access to BRT stations leads to increased property value in the residential section (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004). In this section, we refer to the study titled Value of Accessibility to Bogotá’s Bus Rapid Transit System by Rodriguez and Targa (2004) to understand how the BRT system in Bogota changes residents’ commutes and how these impacts will change over time in terms of the beneficiary groups. Furthermore, this study examines the relationship between multifamily apartment rentals and accessibility to BRT station locations (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004).

While BRT is revolutionizing public transit systems worldwide, many empirical studies in Latin America have also proven its effectiveness and success. For example, BRT shows coordinated operations, technology, infrastructure, and equipment improvements. In addition, BRT is also known for embracing different applications to enhance the service a bus-based transit system can provide. For example, BRT systems in Bogota, Colombia, encompass a network of dedicated lanes used exclusively by large-capacity buses, with expedited boarding and alighting. In general, the most prominent characteristics of BRT that make it unique and successful are:

  • There is less capital cost of implementing BRT in comparison to other modes (such as rail)
  • There is more flexibility in implementation and operation in terms of both infrastructure and timing. BRT can b  installed gradually, enabling functions before a particular corridor’s components are finished. Like BRT, Light Rail Transportation (LRT) can more quickly adapt to variations in demand. When the position of activity in space changes, the alignment of BRT may also be easily changed (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004)
  • BRT vehicles (buses) can use normal roads; in other words, they can run on and off the right-of-way
  • The busway (BRT roads) can be used by other vehicles, for instance, emergency vehicles (ambulance and fire trucks).
  • By incorporating new technologies, BRT vehicles can use less energy and fossil fuels and produce less GHG emissions.

Although BRT has become the center of attention, particularly in the last two decades, some questions remain about its usefulness as a mass-transit option. From the decision-maker’s point of view, the disadvantages of BRT are discussed as restrictions in encouraging economic development when compared with light rail and heavy rail systems. It has to be n examined that investors are more inclined to develop residential, commercial, and office land use around the rail line and rail stations rather than bus lanes and bus stations. Also, there are concerns regarding the proximity-related adverse effects of BRT service, such as noise, pollution, and other adverse effects associated with bus services. However, these negative externalities could be compensated by using compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuel for BRT vehicles and, therefore, cancel out the impact of using fossil fuels. Accordingly, policymakers believe LRT infrastructure has more excellent permanence and physical presence. It also brings more commitment to public transit, and therefore, it has more potential in attracting private sector investments and simulating land development around the stations. However, there is a need for more research and more empirical studies to understand the impact of BRT on land development and investment attraction, as well as the relationship between accessibility to BRT and land values (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004).

While in the case of Curitiba, the BRT investments and the land-use developments are very closely planned and work together, in many other cases, the impacts of BRT on proximity-related externalities, accessibility, and land development are still unclear. For instance, in his section, we specifically focus on the case of Bogota to determine the impacts of BRT accessibility on land development. Bogota is the capital of Colombia and one of the densest cities in the world. On the other hand, while the car ownership rate is low in Bogota compared to other big cities in Latin America, the city still struggles with mobility issues. Therefore, many attempts have been made to solve the mobility issues in Bogota; however, many have failed during the last few decades. On the bright side, in the previous two decades, “some mobility and urban development initiatives were undertaken in the city to implement sustainable strategies for the city’s transportation system” (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004). Accordingly, in 1 99, the city invested in an extensive BRT network built between 1999-2000 and started its operation in late 2000, with two main corridors. This completed new work is expected to cover 80% of the daily transit trips in the city.

Data shows that people’s mobility and accessibility have dramatically improved with the implementation of the BRT system. According to statistics on ridership, the BRT system now has 42.5 km of dedicated busways that carry about 800,000 one-way trips daily. According to the passenger numbers, TransMilenio brings more people than the public transportation network of several major cities worldwide (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004). Also, transforming a busway corridor with severe safety and pollution issues and aesthetic concerns into a new BRT system with dramatically reduced travel times, lower noise, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions makes Bogota’s instance unique (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004).

After selecting a 1.5 km buffer area around two main corridors of the BRT system in Bogota, the local physical accessibility to the BRT system and BRT stations was measured. Its impact on residential land value and rental prices was analyzed. In addition, other study authors have controlled for other related factors, such as house characteristics. Finally, the results of this analysis demonstrate that higher prices for multifamily residential rental units are related to improved physical accessibility to BRT station sites. According to the capitalization effects of local physical accessibility, properties 5 minutes closer to stations have increased the rental price from 6.8 to 9.3 %. These findings demonstrate that property owners value access to BRT station sites and influence the housing price (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004).

Studies of the impacts of the access to BRT stations on land value in Bogota’s current conditions help future planners understand how such accessibility would shape land-use planning in Bogota. The BRT system grew from a 42.5 km network to several hundreds of kilometers of BRT network. This expansion tremendously affected the accessibility to different land uses and their affordability and access. Regarding the differences the BRT network will cause in its first phase compared with the impacts in its second phase, the authors believe that the expansion will make BRT more competitive versus other modes, such as the private vehicle, as the system expands. This competitive advantage will increase the system’s overall usability and customer value, which should be reflected in the correlation between local usability and land values (Rodríguez & Targa, 2004).

In the following paragraphs, we specifically analyze how informal transport, privately owned and operated buses, competes with the BRT system in Bogota. We will also discuss how the location of the Phase 3 implementation did not benefit low-income commuters and how the BRT competes with Informal Transportation that is more affordable and flexible for low-income commuters. For this purpose, we refer to an article titled Bus Rapid Transit: Is TransMilenio a Miracle Cure? by Alan Gilbert (2008).

Although TransMilenio BRT has been known as a successful example of improving urban transport in Bogota, it has recently been severely criticized for different reasons, such as Cost, ownership structure, design efficacy, and, most crucially, the fact that it failed to address the problem of transpiration in Bogota effectively (Gilbert, 2008). Thus, considering that the BRT system in Bogota has been known for its success, it is unfortunate to recognize that it has failed to serve the poor and underserved population in Bogota specifically.

Data shows that in developing and developed countries, two reasons are mainly causing people to opt to use their vehicles or private cars for travel: the absence of sound and reliable public transit and increased incomes. However, as confirmed by both research and empirical studies, private cars are not sustainable for different reasons, such as increasing congestion, increasing air pollution, reducing citizens’ quality of life, and decreasing economic productivity and competitiveness. Countries in Lati  America have not been an exception, and increased car ownership rates have also adversely affected them. Therefore, to overcome the negative externalities created by increased car ownership and the use of private cars, most cities worldwide have decided to develop rail transit as the most suitable option. However, many problems are associated with developing rail transportation systems (subway, metro, and light rail transit), such as the high construction and maintenance costs, the limitations in covering most parts of the city, and the uneven service minority and low-income populations. Therefore, creating an adequate bus system is the best way to address concerns relating to the increased usage of private automobiles and issues with rail transportation. (Gilbert, 2008).

Therefore, one of the most reliable and efficient systems introduced to public transit is the BRT system since they can carry almost the same number of passengers as rail systems while being much cheaper to build and maintain. As we mentioned in previous sections, the first successful model of BRT was implemented in Curitiba, and then this model was followed by other cities in Latin America. Among these cities, Bogota has also implemented an excellent example of BRT, in which the constructive collaboration between the public and private sectors has resulted in good outcomes. However, as mentioned, the BRT system in Bogota (TransMilenio bus system) has also faced some problems and has been recently criticized for different reasons. For instance, the number of passengers using the BRT system has decreased, mainly because these passengers have decided to switch back to the old-style buses. Another issue is that the fare has increased relative to wages and the Cost of traveling with other types of buses. In addition, it has been mentioned that some specific aspects related to expanding the third phase of the project are controversial (Gilbert, 2008).

Table 8.7 shows the construction plan for different phases of the BRT system in Bogota. Data collected su vying people in Bogota shows that Trans Milenio was cited as the primary mode of transportation by 19% of those surveyed by Bogotá Como Vamos in 2005, 18% in 2006, and 14% in 2007. In 2007, the syst m carried 1.3 million people on an average workday (Gilbert, 2008).

Source: Gilbert, 2008

The local criticism regarding the Bogota BRT started when Phase 2 began in 2004. The first group o  complaints was related to three main issues, including 1) the traffic congestion caused by the construction of the system, 2) the decay of the road surface, and 3) the deteriorating condition of the bus stations. The second group f criticism was mostly concerning overcrowding, delays to the bus system, and passenger protests regarding the decrease in the system’s services. The third group o  complaints was about safety and security issues, indicating the risk of robbery, primarily because of overcrowding. Finally, the four h group of issues was related to the decline in the technical problems of the system. Undoubtedly, this confluence of pests is to blame for the declining approval ratings. Compared to other forms of transportation, the public awarded Trans Milenio an excellent rating when it first began operating; in 2001, it scored a 93% acceptance rating. However, only 66% of respondents believed the service was still outstanding or excellent in 2007 (Gilbert, 2008).

Moreover, one of the most critical questions regarding the efficiency of the Bogota BRT system relates to its state of equity and affordability. This is an essential issue since most of the city’s population is low-income, and the system’s construction is highly subsidized. Current data show that most users of the BRT system in Bogota are middle-income people; however, the low-income population is the majority. The main reason for this issue is related to the network’s expansion and the areas covered by the network; Transmilenio’s current routes do not reach large areas of poor settlement, and the fares charged are more expensive than those in the traditional system. Furthermore, although future c corridors will cover a much broader socio-economic cross-section of the city, the subsequent and recently expanded phases (Phase 3) do not prioritize routes that pass through poor areas (Gilbert, 2008).

Therefore, removing competition is the most appropriate way to solve the issue. The small-scale owners and drivers must negotiate a political agreement to do this. Due to unfair competition, TransMilenio is not transporting as many passengers as the present fleet of articulated buses can accommodate. Buses are still parked in the garages, and TransMilenio tariffs have climbed due to rising costs and stagnant passenger volume. If nothing is done to halt the illegal buses and speed up the scrapping program, TransMilenio may find itself in a dangerous downward spiral. It won’t be able to convince clients to switch from the existing system, which is less expensive, and would need to raise prices once again to survive. (Gilbert, 2008).

Last but not least, a considerable portion of public money is spent on building Bogota’s infrastructure. Making space for personal automobiles, taxis, and standard buses accounts for a large part of the expense of building corridors. If public policy could limit the number of private cars using Bogotá’s streets, the infrastructure cost may decrease, and the number of passengers might grow. (Gilbert, 2008).

  • The bus rapid transit (BRT) system is a top-notch bus-based transportation system that offers metro-level capabilities for quick, pleasant, and economical services. (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, n.d.)
  • Informal transportation is often composed of tiny cars that a single person owns, operates, or leases.

Gilbert, A. (2008). Bus rapid transit: Is Transmilenio into a miracle cure? Transport Reviews , 28 (4), 439–467. 40701785733

Hensher, D. A., & Golob, T. F. (2008). Bus rapid transit systems: A comparative assessment. Transportation , 35 (4), 501–511. edu/10.1007/s11116-008-9163-y

Hook, W., Kost, C., Navarro, U., Replogle, M., & Baranda, B. (2010). Carbon dioxide reduction benefits of bus rapid transit systems: Learning from Bogotá, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; and Jakarta, Indonesia. Transportation Research Recor , 2193 (1), 9–16. 2

Lindau, L. A., Hidalgo, D., & Facchini, D. (2010). Curitiba the cradle of bus rapid transit. Built Environment , 36 (3), 274–282.

Pojani, D., & Stead, D. (2015). Sustainable urban transport in the developing world: Beyond megacities. Sustainability , 7 (6), 7784–7895. 784

Rodríguez, D. A., & Targa, F. (2004). Value of accessibility to Bogotá’s bus rapid transit system. Transport Reviews , 24 (5), 587–610. 4042000195081

is a top-notch bus-based transportation system that offers metro-level capabilities for quick, pleasant, and economical services. (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, n.d.)

is a kind of urban rail public transit that, on average, has more capacity and speed than typical street-running tram systems but lesser capacity and speed than heavy rail and metro systems. The phrase is commonly used to describe rail systems with rapid transit-style features that normally employ electric rail cars and operate mostly in private rights of way that are isolated from other traffic but may occasionally be mixed with other traffic in city streets, depending on the situation. (Rail System, n.d.)

is often composed of tiny cars that a single person owns, operates, or leases.

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