Creating a sustainable freight and passenger transport system for São Paulo


A consortium of three universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), and Technische Universität Berlin, and the Municipality of São Paulo, Brazil, propose a study of urban freight movement and development of plans to improve these flows. Our goal is to identify physical and regulatory means of improving freight-movement efficiency, with direct the consequence of reducing distribution costs. Indirectly, this should reduce congestion for all users, thereby improving reliability of all transportation movements in the region, not just those of urban freight. Urban congestion and the competition for public resources has been a near-permanent feature of local economies. Public roads, ports, terminals, and marketplace activities can generate tremendous economies of scale and scope. These economies serve to encourage both businesses and people to co-locate to obtain the benefits. However, congestion, accidents, and environmental degradation, the by-products of development, often reduce the benefits, curtailing development opportunities, and, if unmanaged, reversing economic and social progress. It appears to be the case that this has happened in the São Paulo region. In our view, this can be changed through planning and management of urban infrastructure and through regulation of its use. Our goal is to reduce the debilitating level of congestion and restore some of the economic (and social) benefits derived from fair and efficient transportation of goods and people.

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