Greenovate! City of Curitiba, Brazil Rapid Transit System

by T. McNally R. Jonash and H. Patel

Greenovate! City of Curitiba, Brazil Rapid Transit System City of Curitiba, Brazil Rapid Transit System

Real world stories about innovators and innovative companies are an important way to learn and we place high value on them at Innovation Excellence. We are very pleased to begin a series of case studies on companies who have been curated by Hult International Business School and Center for Innovation, Excellence and Leadership (IXL Center) in their book Greenovate!

 CASE STUDY - BAE SYSTEMS - HybriDrive® Propulsions SystemsThe book Greenovate! documents 53 case studies that are defined by “sustainable, green innovations” (or “green ovations”). Each profile combines business innovation with a synthesized concept of sustainability, from startups to leading global organizations. The next case study in this special Greenovate! case study series is:

City of Curitiba, Brazil Rapid Transit System
An eco-friendly, reliable, efficiently constructed, cost effective bus transport system


A flexible network of buses and stations, that meets the needs of a rapidly growing urban environment without busting city budgets for capital investments in rail, has the capacity to serve an unlimited range of locations throughout Curitiba, achieving the speed and efficiency of a subway system.


A highly reliable mass transport system that dramatically reduces automobile usage, fuel consumption and emission levels in the city. A versatile, cost- and time-effective model that can be implemented by making improvements to existing transport infrastructure and vehicles.


A low cost transit system used by over 75% of travelers in Curitiba, a city of three million plus. Eliminates about 27 million automobile trips annually, saving 10 million gallons of fuel and lowering the city’s CO2 emissions by 25%. A model for developing cities worldwide.



Curitiba’s rapid population growth taxed the capacity of an antiquated electric trolley system, creating a dire need to improve the public transportation system


The government wanted to stimulate economic growth for the urban population and to facilitate greater mobility by improving the transportation infrastructure


The outdated fare payment system and narrow bus doors created transportation bottlenecks, resulting in slow and inefficient service



The legacy electric trolley service followed fixed routes — expansion of service capacity to new routes was constrained by the narrow city streets and a tight municipal budget


Economic setbacks, including periods of hyperinflation, discouraged development of the roads necessary for an efficient bus transit system


The municipality lacked the technology to develop a system that could reduce congestion at bus terminals



Mayor Moreira Garcez‘s commission for the streets permitted a local power company to explore the possibility of a bus network for the city


The Institute for Research and Urban Planning in Curitiba (IPPUC) constructed roads for buses at 1/10th

the cost of laying a subway system, enabling systematic urban and economic development


Cylindrical tube-shaped station enables passengers to make fare pre-payment; bus design permits commuters to board and exit buses simultaneously



The bus transport network better connects far-flung urban areas, increasing the trade and commerce within the city


Mayor Ivo Aruza Prereir commissioned the IPPUC to plan a integrated transport system that will support further urban development


The city municipality reduced the passenger waiting time at the terminals to no more than 15 to 19 seconds per boarding—1/8th less than the original time


The city municipality continues to improve the efficiency of the transport system through installation of sensors in its buses and along public transportation routes. Also, the city municipality plans to utilize 100% alternate energy sources to lower emission levels.

image credit:; Brazil Rapid Transit

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Tyler McNally, Ronald Jonash & Dr. Hitendra Patel are co-authors of Greenovate! — Companies Innovating to Create a More Sustainable World and members of the leadership team at IXL CENTER, the Center for Innovation, Excellence & Leadership at Hult International Business School.

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