Brazil’s not only about football – it’s also BRTS and ethanol

The last goal has been scored in the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Germany has gone home the deserved winner and the BRICS Summit is currently underway.

By Brian de Souza calendar 15 Jul 2014 Views icon12752 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

The last goal has been scored in the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Germany has gone home the deserved winner and the BRICS Summit is currently underway. Prime minister Narendra Modi is attending it and while he will talk about the BRICS Bank and other commercial and political initiatives, he might also take a look at two very significant things about Brazil, very important to India from a transport perspective

Like India, urban transport is the lifeline of Brazil’s cities. If you live in Mumbai, where public transport is also the lifeline of the city, it is difficult to imagine a neighbourhood-friendly, clean and efficient bus transport system. But in Curitiba, Brazil, that is exactly what the city’s bus system offers residents in the form of the Bus Rapid Transport System or BRTS.

The numbers are important. Curitiba has two million people, Mumbai many times more at 12 million and counting. Yet as the city spreads far and beyond, it’s worth taking a close look at BRTS.

Mumbai’s still waiting for one but BRTS has been kicked off in Delhi, Ahmedabad and even unknown to many, Visakhapatnam.

The second interesting development is ethanol blending. Brazil’s ethanol-blending system has a 25 percent admixture in regular transport fuels. And the source of ethanol is sugarcane. Reports suggest that both the federal and state governments in Brazil are committed to investing is sustainable transport and that many bus corridors were built, especially in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil’s most important city.

India has its own problems, the sheer numbers are daunting but that must not be the excuse for not bringing in sustainable systems. Incidentally, the one-month-old Metro service in Mumbai does represent sustainable transport, being eco-friendly, quick and efficient. But its costs are huge. BRTS is much more affordable.

As far as ethanol blending, the oil companies have to be ready to supply enough ethanol to make this blending possible. And that will take some time. In 2011, IndianOil Corporation has inaugurated an ethanol blending unit at Kolhapur in Maharashtra

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said the government will study the Motor Vehicles Act to make changes that will allow cars, especially those on bio-fuel, to run on Indian roads.

It may be recalled at almost a decade ago, Mercedes-Benz India has run two C-class cars on bio-fuel (1,300 litres) produced from the jatropha plant in some barren areas of some states. That noteworthy initiative was done in collaboration with the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute in Bhavnagar. It’s 2014 now and India should have far more initiatives aimed at sustainable mobility.


Photograph (courtesy Wikipedia): Curitiba's bi-articulated buses and a tube-shaped bus stop, both parts of Rede Integrada de Transporte, the bus rapid transit system of Curitiba.


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