Latin American Association of Integrated Systems and BRT (SIBRT) holds the first of a series of events that discusses actions to improve road safety for public transit bus systems.
The I SIBRT Road Safety Workshop, held in the city of São Paulo from February 8-10, brought together the main agencies managing municipal urban public transportation in Brazil. As many as 28 experts from Belém do Pará , Belo Horizonte, Canoas, Curitiba, Campinas, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, presented their activities in road safety, and discussed problems and opportunities to reduce fatal accidents in the exclusive BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), corridors and Integrated Transport Systems (ITS).
Sponsored by SIBRT and EMBARQ Brazil, and supported by SPTrans, the meeting advanced the discussion of issues relating to road safety in the cities of Latin America, which now carry more than 20 million people daily. Luis Antonio Lindau, President of EMBARQ Brazil, expressed his concern for both pedestrians and motorcyclists. “In Brazil, most people involved in accidents are pedestrians and motorcyclists. It is important to note that public transportation users are also pedestrians. We need to distinguish between public transit riders who are on their way to or from the transit system, and include in our analysis not only the rider as a public transit user, but also as a pedestrian,” said Lindau. He also highlighted the importance of the meeting as an opportunity to present lessons learned and share them among other management entities of urban public transportation.
The experience of São Paulo – now with a fleet of 15,000 buses – was showcased through four presentations by technical staff from SPTrans and Traffic Engineering Company. Curitiba (the pioneer city in ITS and BRT and a reference for urban mobility advancement around the world), Belo Horizonte, and Porto Alegre, also presented their experiences and challenges in road safety. Also presented were results of research done, by EMBARQ Brazil’s Road Safety team, on security of BRT systems in the world and lessons learned in several BRT projects in Brazil. “It was an opportunity to exchange experiences and try to seek uniformity in city data collection and analysis, in order to have comparable indicators that serve as more efficient references,” stated Rosângela Battistella, advisor to the President of the URBS, Curitiba.
The technicians, divided into working groups, analyzed information and experiences of agencies with the intention to reach concrete proposals and improve Road Safety. Issues like collection and analysis of data, institutional integration, signaling and infrastructure, education and educational campaigns, and surveillance systems were discussed at the working groups. “This format is very productive. People are not just here to say what they want, but rather to listen and discuss in depth about road safety. It is very valuable for the exchange of experiences, and an efficient and intelligent work methodology, “said Pedro Luis Machado, Technical Director of SPTrans. With extensive experience in participating in technical events, Machado values meetings focused on a single theme, in which participants have the real opportunity to interact and discuss further.
“Bringing together experiences from agencies and organizations with unique responsibilities in traffic safety will certainly provide benefits to other agencies through sharing of experiences and lessons learned from the EMBARQ’s research and audits in discussion during the workshop,” said Operations Director of BHTrans, Daniel Marx Couto. “Some cities have more experience in road safety issues, which can reduce the work in other agencies. Benchmarking is an important tool in facilitating the work of public agencies,” stated Couto.
With this event, SIBRT opens a path to permanent cooperation with Brazilian agencies with respect to road safety. Additionally, it is also possible to apply best practices for considerable reduction of accidents, and to achieve specific goals proposed by the World Health Organization for the Decade of Action for Road Safety. “When comparing systems, it is possible to see both strengths and weaknesses. Another point was the possibility to exchange knowledge and experiences,” said Maria Cristina Molina Hill, Technical Director of EPTC, Porto Alegre.
Luis Ricardo Gutierrez, Executive Secretary of SIBRT and Latin America Strategic Director for the EMBARQ Network, said that this event was made possible as a result of the support from SPTrans and funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We need to emphasize the participation of SPTrans, that presented how the teams act during different stages of the bus systems operations – such as information, data analysis, driver training, and guidance to pedestrians,” said Gutierrez. He also stated that “the valuable experience of São Paulo presented along with cities such as Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre has enabled us to reflect and draw conclusions for development of proposals, and improvement of effective bus systems in Brazil and Latin America. The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support was crucial to this event. ”
The final results of this work will be presented at the II “SIBRT Best Practices in Latin America” Conference to be held from April 25-26 in the city of León, Mexico. The goal is to share this information with other agencies in Latin America, in order to multiply the scope of efforts and reduce accidents in urban public transport systems.
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