The Project Smart City Concepts in Curitiba – low-carbon transport and mobility in a digital society explores the transformational change needed to make urban transport and mobility more energy efficient, low-carbon and sustainable.

Equating sustainability and prosperity in urban environments involves finding solutions for the challenges of mobility. In this context, synergies between stakeholders and different infrastructure sectors need to be articulated through urban planning. In other words, there is need for collaboration among stakeholders, if we are to take most advantage of innovative technologies to improve mobility services and management of the urban space in general. This is what we mean when talking about smart and sustainable mobility.

A consortium of Swedish and Brazilian stakeholders has been developing studies and demonstration activities to promote sustainable urban mobility since 2013. The city of Curitiba works as a living lab in this context. In a previous project1, a strong collaborative platform was established which served as the basis for the demonstration of electric bus technologies, development of monitoring tools for electrified bus fleets, and studies on potential impacts of bus transport electrification in Curitiba. The project was carried out by a consortium involving, academics, and public and private sector. The activities were funded by the Swedish Innovation Agency VINNOVA and the partners involved.

This new project strengthens the cooperative platform and expands it to include new partners and address new innovation challenges in transport systems and mobility planning. We approach mobility from a transdisciplinary point of view, exploring the creation of multi-sectoral platforms to promote the transition towards sustainable and smart mobility of people and goods in the urban environment. The activities proposed for 2020-2022 are aligned with the Swedish and Brazilian innovation programs, global agendas for climate and development, and goals defined by the City of Curitiba.

The overarching objectives of the project Smart City Concepts in Curitiba – low-carbon transport and mobility in a digital society are to:

  1. develop innovative and smart solutions for promoting low-carbon transport pathways for citizens and goods;
  2. identify ways to improve resource and service efficiency in the urban context; and
  3. explore how digitalization can catalyze system transformations for improved sustainability in transport and energy service provision, while also promoting emissions reduction and prosperity.

The Project includes data and technology sourcing and analysis, energy and emissions balances for different transport solutions and fuel alternatives, culminating with the design of scenarios for smart mobility and a platform of digital reality in 3D. Ultimately, this coordinated effort and the results shall provide decision support for transport and mobility planning. Scenarios for smart mobility of people and goods will be developed using real data from Curitiba, exploring technological shifts and low-carbon solutions that meet ambitious goals of emissions reduction at local and global level.

The Project provides concrete ground for testing technological transformation in an urban context in Latin America, capitalizing on Swedish and European experiences. It will contribute new insights and tools for addressing mobility in urban areas, exploring multi-level infrastructure transformation and technological innovation in a transdisciplinary cooperative platform.

The Project is transdisciplinary in nature, implying the participation of multiple stakeholders from academia, business, government and society at large. The interaction with planning organizations in Curitiba throughout the project makes it possible to integrate the findings into planning practices in the city. The collaborative platform of the Project shall become a reference in terms of the model of stakeholder collaboration proposed, as well as the concrete examples it brings for addressing the challenge of low-carbon mobility.         

The project is led by Chalmers in Sweden and UTFPR in Brazil. Partners include KTH, Hexagon/Leica Geosystems, Sweco, Sustainable Vision – Global Ventures AB, UTFPR, UFPR, the planning organizations IPPUC and URBS in Curitiba, and CISB.

Funding is provided by VINNOVA and partners.

1 More information on the project carried out between 2014 and 2017 can be found here. Key partners in the consortium were KTH, City of Curitiba, UTFPR, URBS, IPPUC, Volvo Bus and Combitech. Other partners joining in the test-beds included Ericsson and COPEL.