Tuesday, September 23, 2008

22nd of September - World's Carfree Day

Today is the World's Carfree Day. Yeap, 22nd of September. Nevertheless, the traffic in Sao Paulo is as intense as usually. For today being Monday, it actually seems even heavier than normally in the beginning of the week.
I know that because I take a bus every day for at least 45 minutes to work and depending on traffic, minimum 1 hour, maximum 2 to get home. My work is about 40 km from home.
Well ... at least it's a bus of about 50 people in it, not a car, right? and runs on biodiesel, not petroleum. So a bit better? And the company neutralizes carbon emissions. Should be alright then?

Yeah, I guess that's a pretty good option for commuting. Just that ... there's NO MORE SPACE on the streets! And even if someone wanted to choose a public transport or a bicycle, then ... the public transport is crowded, and for the second option - you'd be suicidal, if you wanted to bicycle in SP!
Quick fact: in a city of 13 million (with Grange Sao Paulo about 18 million) there's about 4,5 km bicycle roads outside of parks.

AND...here come some Sao Paulo traffic stats:
- more than 6 million cars on the streets, which, when lined up would almost reach around the world (40 000 km)
- 48 571 new cars in March alone (64% increase compared to the previous year)
- in 12 month period the number of cars increased 6,7% compared to the year before, which is 16 times more than the rate of population growth in Sao Paulo (0,41%)
- Daily, 1000 new cars are bought, in March the number grew up to 1500
- Average speed at the peak hour is 27 km per hour for cars and 12 km/h for public bus

One of the strategies the city implements is "rodizio": depending on your plate number, you are not allowed on the streets on certain days or hours (to alleviate the burden on the streets to accommodate the cars).

When I asked my friend, what would he do if the "rodizio" became tougher, he simply said, he'd get a second car.
Well, can't really blame him. Depending on a route, to cover a distance of 1 hr car ride, it could sometimes take up to 3 hours by public transport!!

They say, the metro system has been under financed for the last 28 years... as well as the bicycle roads ... and I think, there's quite a work to be done for responsible consumerism as well.
I wonder how much would the mainsteam ways of working change in the future due to traffic conditions (home office, flexible working hours etc.). It is already happening, I am just wondering about the mainstreaming effect...

I am curious about the future of our Sao Paulo.

1 comment:

Daniel Romano said...

Actually I'm not curious, but seriously worried about it.

The "rodizio" was first implemented to reduce the pollution amount some years ago. It used to take only some months during the winter, as the air is not so humid. As the traffic problem started to get more serious they decided to keep it, but now due to the traffic, not to the air pollution.

The problem is, the public transportation system is too crowded, expensive (about 1,20 U$, one way) and small (if we would think of subway lines). At that price you can run about 12 Km with a car using Alcohol fuel (and no crowd or walking and stuff like that).

I use public transport everyday and it's really hard to do it at peak. It's time to improve the transportation quality and efficiency, so that it will be worth it to choose for it instead of using our cars.

Another important fact, and sorry for writing so much, is that living in a big city as São Paulo makes us forget about the others... we don't know who our neighbors are, what they do and where do they go everyday. If they use a car or not. It's perfectly possible that if we knew better our neighbors and colleagues, if we had a better social life here in São Paulo, a lot of cars could be out of the streets.