On Monday 12 March work began on Porto Alegre’s new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system, which will make public transport both faster and safer in the city. The measure forms of part of a package of urban-mobility interventions ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and will be one of event’s main legacies in the Rio Grande do Sul state capital.

The commencement order for the first stage of the works was signed by the city’s mayor, Jose Fortunati. “The FIFA World Cup is already happening in Porto Alegre,” Fortunati said at the signing. “Projects like the BRT will signify a transformation in our city’s public transport network,” he added.

The ceremony took place on Avenida Protasio Alves, one of the streets with high bus-traffic density that will be served by the BRT. Avenidas Bento Goncalves and Joao Pessoa will also form part of the new system. The proposed vehicles will offer large capacity and produce low emissions, while the project will also provide bus users with real-time traffic information. The BRT system will even have transit-signal priority at junctions and will offer free passenger transfer between bus lines.

The designated stations will be closed environments and air conditioned, and will follow sustainable concepts. The air conditioning system will function through a combination of natural and forced air. These mechanisms will vary depending on climatic conditions, air temperature and humidity, and will be controlled by an automated system. The energy required will be generated by [solar] panels on the stations’ roofs.

The name of Porto Alegre’s BRT system will be chosen by its public.