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Curitiba has long stood at the vanguard of the movement toward sustainable development, with one of the most successful public transit systems in the world. As the largest city in Southern Brazil, and the capital of the state of Paraná, Curitiba has done well to live out its motto as “a cidade da gente” (“our city” or “the city of people”) by creating a model of community sustainability that is simple, yet effective. This model provides efficient, cost-effective transport for its people, while preserving the area’s natural resources by using 30% less fossil fuel per capita than other Brazilian cities of similar size.
By integrating transportation into the greater urban planning of the city and focusing on the big picture by implementing hundreds of modest projects--rather than a handful of expensive, large-scale endeavors--Curitiba has been able to set up a Bus Rapid Transit system that successfully caters to 70% of the city’s commuting population. In making this giant leap from car travel to public transit, Curitibanos save more than 27 million liters of fuel annually. As a result, Curitiba has one of the lowest levels of ambient air pollution in the country.
Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba and governor of Paraná, initiated the revolutionary development of the city with a clear vision for its future: "There is no endeavor more noble than the attempt to achieve a collective dream. When a city accepts as its mandate its quality of life; when it respects the people who live in it; when it respects the environment; when it prepares for future generations, the people share responsibility for that mandate, and this shared cause is the only way to achieve that collective dream."
Curitiba's success is widely known, and has been copied in various cities.
One less successful example is the busway in Jakarta. While a detailed comparison would be useful, an obvious problem in Jakarta has been the greatly delayed rollout and lack of promised vehicles to meet the demand.