Energy Efficiency in Urban Mobility

Project description

Title: Development cooperation programme on renewable energies and energy efficiency in Brazil / Energy Efficiency in Urban Mobility
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministério das Cidades
Overall term: 2016 to 2018

Rental bikes at a metro station in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Manfred Breithaupt) © GIZ


Around 55 million cars, motorcycles, delivery vans and heavy-duty trucks and buses use Brazil’s roads. The upshot: traffic congestion, increased greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution and a high accident rate. Energy consumption per passenger-kilometer is intensive and inefficient. Urban transport systems in particular have reached their limit. A failure to devise and implement new mobility plans as soon as possible will allow the situation to worsen, and erode people’s quality of life even more.

According to Brazil’s 2013 Sectoral Plan on Transportation and Urban Mobility for the Mitigation of Climate Change (PSTM), CO2 emissions from passenger transport will exceed 135 million tonnes by 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 52 per cent compared to 2010. In this scenario, private transport accounts for 64 per cent of CO2 emissions and public transport for 36 per cent of all passenger transport emissions.

The Brazilian Government’s Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC) has already earmarked the equivalent of around EUR 25 billion for urban mobility. Adopted in 2012, Brazil’s National Urban Mobility Policy (NUMP) sets out national guidelines that prioritise public transport and zero-emission options, such as non-motorised transport (NMT). It also stipulates that communities with a population of more than 20,000 are legally obliged to draft an Urban Mobility Plan.

Implementing these guidelines is a major challenge for Brazil’s municipalities which now have to train planners and traffic engineers and set up multidisciplinary teams. Nonetheless, many cities have already committed to promoting sustainable development and are in the process of making their transport systems more efficient.


The conditions for harnessing the energy efficiency potential of urban mobility in Brazil have improved.


Creating liveable towns and cities with sustainable mobility solutions built around people, not cars, requires a new and better way forward: namely, the A-S-I (Avoid-Shift-Improve) approach which focuses on demand rather than supply. A-S-I promotes alternative mobility solutions and more sustainable and energy-efficient transport systems that will lower GHG emissions, reduce travel times and generally improve the livability of Brazilian cities.

Three factors are crucial to more energy-efficient urban mobility: the transport system as a whole (system efficiency), individual journeys (trip efficiency), and vehicle technology (engine efficiency). And three general strategies also come into play:

  1. Prevent further increases in traffic volumes and reduce existing demand
  2. Shift demand to more efficient modes of transport and improve the service network
  3. Improve vehicle and fuel efficiency

Operational at national level and in pilot cities, project activities are based on the NUMP guidelines and support the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The project provides methodological instruments that can be used to asses energy efficiency potential and to develop relevant measures. And it is also devising a range of tools, including manuals containing technical recommendations and how-to documents for planning, financing and implementing measures as part of an energy-efficient transport system.

Furthermore, the project has invited experts to join an international and inter-sectoral knowledge-sharing network to advance energy efficiency competence in the urban transport sector.

The project is helping to ensure that the Ministry of Cities (Ministério das Cidades), other relevant institutions and the pilot cities build up the technical capacities they need in order to develop sustainable and energy-efficient mobility solutions