Belo Horizonte moves to the beat of BRT

Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, now ranks among the growing number of cities around the world that are bringing high-quality sustainable transit to its citizens.

Belo Horizonte opened the first of three planned corridors of MOVE, the city’s first BRT system, in March. The new corridor runs along Avenida Cristiano Mahcado, following best practices in BRT design, including center-aligned stations, off-board fare collection and integrated intermodal connections. When the system reaches full operation this month, MOVE will have the capacity to carry 700,000 people per day.

MOVE brings important benefits to BRT riders and to all Belo Horizonte residents. For riders, it will shorter travel times between the two main terminals by half and provide a safe comfortable trip across town. In addition, all Belo Horizonte citizens will enjoy reduced congestion and emissions. The corridor is also expected to help revitalize the city’s downtown and encourage mixed use development.

International Transportation Development Policy (ITDP) New York, NY, has brought its international expertise to support Belo Horizonte’s BRT through sharing best practice designs, advising on corridor design, and evaluating plans for the multimodal São Gabriel Station.

The Avenida Cristiano Mahcado corridor is 6 kilometers, running between the São Gabriel Station in the northeast and city center. Along this corridor, the first route provides direct service from end to end, cutting riders’ commute times significantly. The second route makes local stops at eight additional stations, and the third runs along the corridor and then branches out to connect with Savassi Station and link several hospitals and commercial districts to the corridor. These routes show how the corridor can serve diverse needs for the city.

“The creation of the BRT has the potential to reinvigorate the most degraded areas, attracting investment and encouraging compact land use,” says Clarisse Linke, director, ITDP Brazil. “It’s a pleasure to see the MOVE system come true. For years, ITDP has worked to identify the characteristics that make BRT systems succeed worldwide. Our intention is to help the city improve the project and make adjustments as needed.”

MOVE is expected to score highly on the BRT Standard, indicating that, through good design and system management, the new corridors will bring many benefits to the riders and city residents. These benefits include time savings, reduced congestion and emissions, and promotion of mixed use development downtown for a more livable city.