Linha Verde, Curitiba, Brazil – Highway Conversion to BRT

Project Context

Authority: Urbanização de Curitiba (URBS, Urbanization of Curitiba)
Area: Curitiba, State of Paraná, Brazil
Project: 9.4km Freeway to BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) conversion, Stage 1
Mode: Bus (Rapid transit development)
Cost: 60 Million USD (2009)
Value Capture: Certificates of Additional Development Potential

Overview

The 9.4km first stage of Curitiba’s green line is the start of an 18km Bus rapid transit axis connecting 23 districts of the metropolitan region and over 280,000 residents. Included in this development is a 20,000m2 linear park, 6km of cycleway, and a redeveloped road system 1. The area where the line is being developed was a former roadway, wide enough to accommodate 8–10 lanes of traffic 2. Worldwide, Curitiba’s bus rapid transit system is held up as a model example of an effective as well as a cost efficient alternative to a subway system. It currently operates free of any subsidy. The network was initially developed in the 1970’s and is the backbone of Curitiba’s transportation system, carrying the majority of daily commuters. Low fares mean citizens use less than 10% of their income on travel 3.

Impacts of development

The green line is expected to have a capacity of 32,000 passenger journeys per day. Since the line was developed, nearby land has seen substantial value increases along the corridor. This increase in land value helped promoting the development of multiple low density industrial sites, described by commentators as an urban renovation 4.
The network as a whole has recently transitioned to operating solely bio-fuelled buses, resulting in 30% less CO² and 70% less smoke; reducing many negative impacts of the bus system 5.

Value Capture Mechanism

Funding for the development of the line was expected to come from the sale of additional development rights. The city of Curitiba closely controls land use and allows for additional development only through the purchase of development certificates. These CEPAC, (certificate of additional development potential) are auctioned off as a tradable credit within specified areas along the route 6.

Lessons learned

The auctions for the CEPACs occurred at a time when the property market was severely depressed. Yields were only slightly over minimum prices and less than 60% of the anticipated funds were raised 7. Since this time, property has recovered strongly and these CEPACs have increased in value meaning this project missed out on value gains that could have gone into the development of the line.

References

  1. Lindau, L., Hidalgo, D., & Facchini, D. (2010). Curitiba, the Cradle of Bus Rapid Transit. Built Environment, 36(3), 274-282.
  2. De Almeida, C. (n.d.). Energy Efficiency in Cities: Curitiba’s Green Line. Lecture presented at World Bank’s Energy Week April 2009.
  3. Goodman, J., Laube, M., & Schwenk, J. (n.d.). ISSUES IN BUS RAPID TRANSIT. Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration.
  4. Lindau, L., Hidalgo, D., & Facchini, D. (2010). Curitiba, the Cradle of Bus Rapid Transit. Built Environment, 36(3), 274-282.
  5. Lindau, L., Hidalgo, D., & Facchini, D. (2010). Curitiba, the Cradle of Bus Rapid Transit. Built Environment, 36(3), 274-282.
  6. Neto, P., & Moreira, T. (2012). Urban policy in Brazil: Mismatches in the social management of land appreciation. Spatial, 28, 1-6.
  7. Smolka, M. (2015). Value capture a land based tool to finance urban development [PDF].