Fortaleza, Brazil a coastal city of 2.6 million in the state of Ceara, is the 5th largest city in the nation, and growing rapidly. As with many cities around the world, Fortaleza has struggled to meet their growing need for urban mobility without sacrificing the environment and quality of life for their residents. Fortunately, the city’s actions over the past couple of years have shown that they are facing this challenge head-on.
The city has been implementing good practices on their streets since 2014, including complete streets, or equitable division of road space; reducing CO2, and increasing road safety by prioritizing public transport, cycling, and walking. In 2018, Fortaleza reached a goal of 108 km of dedicated bus lanes, which include refurbished bus terminals and a fare-integrated transport system. In addition, they have delivered a whopping 225 km of cycling infrastructure, and integrated bike share systems with public transport. Road safety elements implemented include a reduced speed limit, narrowing roads for cars, raised pedestrian crossings, and redesigns of intersections. As a result, deaths from traffic collisions were reduced from 14.66 (per 100,000) in 2014, to 9.71 in 2017.
“Fortaleza has taken the right approach to transport, which is one that moves away from private cars, to one that prioritizes and integrates pedestrians, cyclist, and public transport users,” says Michael Kodransky, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Award Committee and Head of MOBILIZE, “There is a growing realization among cities that the individual transport model is unsustainable, and we’re very happy to showcase Fortaleza’s leadership over the next year. We very much look forward to bringing 200+ sustainable transport experts to see the city’s achievements for themselves at next year’s MOBILIZE.”
The STA committee was particularly impressed with the replicability of Fortaleza’s projects, as many are based on low cost interventions, partnerships with the private sector, and pilot projects that gather data to justify further capital projects. Fortaleza, has already been working with different cities to share the good practices on sustainable transport and road safety, from a developing city perspective.
“Despite the challenges faced as a developing country city, Fortaleza has demonstrated that through creativity, innovation, leadership and public participation, it is possible to achieve successful results in promoting sustainable mobility in a short term. One of our main strategies has been to adapt international good practices to our local context and we believe that MOBILIZE 2019 will be an important opportunity to maximize the exchange of experiences. We feel honored in receiving this price and to host such prestigious event in our city.” says the mayor of Fortaleza, Roberto Claudio Rodrigues Bezerra.
Bucheon City, South Korea will receive the honorable mention for their creation of an extensive new network of cycling and walking paths, including transforming areas around three metro stations into community and cultural public spaces.
Fortaleza will be the site of MOBILIZE 2019, ITDP’s annual Sustainable Transport Summit organized in partnership with the Volvo Research and Education Foundations. The event will showcase best practices and lessons in sustainable mobility to an international group of city practitioners and researchers, spotlighting this emerging city as a learning lab.