A study commissioned by the Climate and Society Institute (ICS), an NGO dedicated to fighting the causes of climate change, found that Brazilians are aware of the importance of changing their transport choices and favoring clean energy.
Figures are preliminary and were disclosed today (Dec. 6) by Walter Figueiredo de Simoni at the International Workshop on Transport Decarbonization. The full version of the study will be released in the upcoming days.
In the survey, 74% of respondents acknowledge that fossil fuels make a negative impact on air quality. A total 63% acknowledge the negative impact on the quality of water, and 69% understand that burning this type of fuel contributes to climate change.
Additionally, 86% of the people said they would vote for a candidate pledging to make life easier to pedestrians by renovating sidewalks and public squares.
Eighty-five percent said they would choose a candidate pledging to renew bus fleets and 84% would vote for someone vowing to recover bike paths and bike lanes. The research study heard a representative amount of the Brazilian population.
Even though the population seems willing to change its habits, Brazilians face a number of difficulties related to public transport, especially in major urban centers. According to Clarice Linke, Executive Director at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP Brasil), a New York-based NGO, people living in major cities across the country are forced to cope with precarious transport services.
According to the data presented by Linke, only 19% of the population of Sao Paulo are served by its transport network, compared to 30% in Rio. "Our infrastructure is insufficient, and serving the population is difficult. If we look at the situation from an income perspective, it's even more severe. Rio's public transport system received investment from the World Bank in the last few years, but its state is precarious," she noted, during the debate on alternative solutions to clean transport in Brazil.
Linke reported that an average of 73% of the population in metropolitan regions throughout Brazil are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with transport. "The population is becoming indebted and choosing individual motorized transport," she remarked.
Martha Martorelli, Planning Manager of the National Secretariat for Urban Mobility at Brazil's Ministry of Cities, said that Brazil's National Urban Mobility Policy, launched in 2012, stipulates that Brazil must favor public transport and pedestrians. She acknowledges, however, that there have been major challenges to meeting these goals.
"Its difficult implementation is the biggest obstacle today. To work with a policy implemented across the country is our main goal for decarbonization. Changing the predominant transport modality in the country would make a huge change in the climate situation in the cities," she argued.
Martorelli further reported that the urban mobility branch of Avancar-an initiative promoted by Brazil's federal government to earmark funds for housing, infrastructure, and energy-has made significant strides for alternative means of transportation. "Our projects for sidewalks and bikeways would only come when linked to other projects. Now the city government can unveil projects exclusively dedicated to sidewalks, promenades, and bikeways," she said, adding that small cities are also benefited by the program, with a special methodology developed for them.