Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Rio "Bicycle Capital City"

Policy Overview

Increased bicycle infrastructure in urban environments promotes the importance of cycling as a mode of transportation, resulting in improved urban mobility, environmental quality, social inclusion, and economic benefits. An average person can reach a destination 4 times faster on bicycle than on foot, covering more than 15 times the area reached walking. Bicycle infrastructure is less costly to implement than other modes of transport, and it saves an incredible amount of public space. For instance, bicycles require 10 times less space than automobiles to transport the same number of people. Incorporating the bicycle with other means of transportation reduces travel times and results in easier commutes.

Rio "Bicycle Capital City" (Rio Capital da Bicicleta) is a key program created by the City of Rio de Janeiro. It aims to improve public transport and mobility through the promotion of the use of the bicycle. The program promotes a healthy atmosphere and the use of sustainable mobility, and it contributes to a goal of reducing green house gas emissions by 8% by the end of 2012.

How to Apply this Policy

Run by the Secretary of Environment, this program has four main strategies to reach its mobility and environment goals:

  • Expand infrastructure: Double the cycling infrastructure to 300 kilometers between 2010 and 2012, prioritizing integration with the TransCarioca Bus Rapid Transit corridor and the consolidation of cycle path infrastructure in the West Zone.
  • Implement bike-share program: Deploy and scale up a wide-reaching program, BikeRio, integrated with Metro and other transportation options.
  • Create bike parking facilities: Increase the number of public bike racks, including adding facilities at 11 Metro and 2 train stations, in addition to changing the bureaucratic process so private businesses can set up parking facilities.
  • Develop bike map: Launch the detailed official bike map by June 2012 to facilitate use of the expanded system.

Contact Information
Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente (SMAC)
Program Manager Ciclovias
Maria Lucia Navarro

Other cities have recognized that expanding bicycle use improves quality of life and creates opportunity. For example, Cape Town, South Africa, received an honorable mention Sustainable Transport Award from Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) in part for opening the longest continuous bike way in Africa alongside its expanded bus corridor. The city has also invested in other bike infrastructure, including covered and secure bike parking at rail stations and bike storage on buses.