Energy Efficiency in Urban Mobility

Project description

Title: Energy Efficiency in Urban Mobility
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministério das Cidades / Ministry of Cities
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, heavy-duty trucks and buses use Brazil’s roads. The consequences: traffic congestion, increased greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution and a high accident rate. Moreover, the energy consumption per passenger-kilometere is intensive and inefficient. Urban transport systems in particular have reached their limits. A failure to devise and implement new mobility plans as soon as possible will result in the quality of life erosion of millions of Brazilian’s. 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 metric tons by 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 52 per cent compared to 2010. In this scenario, individual transport accounts for 64 per cent of CO2 emissions and public transport for 36 per cent of all passenger transport emissions.

Adopted in 2012, Brazil’s National Urban Mobility Plan (PNMU) 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 liability 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 the national level and in pilot cities, project activities are based on the PNMU guidelines and support the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Overall, the project is contributing 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. 

Parts of the projects were implemented by consulting company GITEC IGIP GmbH, Germany, joining with IDTP, Brazil. 

Instruments for the assessment of energy efficiency potentials and the monitoring of relevant actions in the field of urban mobility are available. 

Technical guidelines and recommendations for planning, implementation and management of energy-efficient urban mobility in Brazilian cities are available.

An integrated mobility strategy that incorporates energy efficiency criteria and other sustainable mobility approaches is ready for implementation in the pilot cities of Uberlândia (State of Minas Gerais) and Sorocaba (State of São Paulo). 

In both pilot cities public transport concessions are up for renewal in 2019 (Volume up to one billion EUR in 15 years). Therefore, the project provides detailed guidelines and recommendations with reference to bus network optimisation and integration, concession management as well as bus contract management and monitoring, parking management, complete streets and more. The implementation of these measures is expected to increase public transport ridership up to 30 per cent.