More inclusive and sustainable mobility
In an interview with mobilize.org, Marcel Martin explains the importance of electrification in transport, comments on the new batteries and reinforces the need for more comfortable infrastructure for cycling and walking, with the municipal elections arriving soon
In an interview with Mobilize, Marcel Martin, the iCS transport coordinator, clarified important points about the mobility model in Brazil and the electrification of vehicles. Firstly, he explains, the transport sector is one of the largest responsible for the emissions of gases that cause the greenhouse effect, mainly in the cities. But is the bus the villain? "Definitely not. A city like São Paulo has a fleet of 15,000 buses, while the number of private vehicles is much higher. There are almost six million cars and over one million motorcycles. Several studies have indicated that cars circulate with one or two passengers, with an average of 1.3 passengers per vehicle. A bus carries at least 40 people, or 20 during this pandemic. Therefore, although it is also an emitter of pollutants, the average emission, per person, is much less,” he explains.
What is the solution? Electrification is one of them. Marcel explains that lead-based batteries are being replaced by new technologies, which are less harmful to the environment. In addition, batteries in a bus, for example, last about 15 years, and can then be reused, for example, in stationary installations to store the energy generated in photovoltaic panels. Even in countries where electric energy is still generated by burning oil, gas and even coal the electrification makes sense, because the efficiency of the equipment of an electric plant is superior to that of a combustion engine in a car or bus. Although there is still a problem of autonomy, in the urban environment it is possible to implement a network of charging stations.
Another fundamental solution is active mobility says Martin. “Governments need to assume this responsibility of providing adequate infrastructure in all the areas of cities. Only then will we have low carbon mobility. It is not enough to electrify the bus fleet, if people are unable to arrive on foot, comfortably and safely, to the bus stop or to the subway station.” Nothing is more attractive at this moment than the municipal elections, probably, as Marcel considers, one of the most important elections in recent years in Brazil. It is time for the mayors and councilors to offer healthier, safer and more comfortable alternatives for mobility.
In episode 25 of the Caravelas + Idea Podcast, Marcel Martin, from iCS, and Américo Sampaio, from Purpose, discuss urban mobility and the importance of the green economy and its environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. The bus is the most popular form of transport in Brazil, despite its poor conservation, mainly due to its reach and financial access. The car comes in third, behind the bicycle, showing that the private vehicle is still a luxury item in Brazil. If there was a more solid structure for bikes, they would be used much more, mainly as the first leg of longer trips. For that, however, it would be necessary to have integration with the subway and bus stations.
Another discussed subject was the municipal elections. According to the participants, the public transport system today is on the verge of collapse, because the economic and financial equilibrium model cannot be sustained in the long term, when considering the subsidies offered to the large companies. There is, however, a certain naturalization of the readjustment of the bus fares, which is serious because with each price increase a portion of the population can no longer afford to use public transport. In addition to the social severity, the fewer people who travel by bus, the larger the subsidies to be paid by the government. If this continues at the same pre-pandemic rhythm, in seven to ten years the prices of the fares will be unpayable. With the pandemic, this process has accelerated and, therefore, a restructuring of public transport is fundamental. We are in the hands of the next mayors and councilors – hence the importance of this year’s elections. Listen to the podcast here!