Co-creating Smart Cities. Brazil case

Brazil – A history of urbanisation

From the middle of the 20th century Brazil has been facing drastic migration from rural and urban areas – the country’s population has tripled. Today almost 90% of Brazil population is living in cities. Brazilian cities and now trying to meet the challenges of urbanisation. iSensing is a UK company committed to working with Brazilian Government, Transport Authorities and Partners to support Smart City solutions.

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Sao Paulo – A Latin American Metropolis

Sao Paulo is one of the most cited cases of urbanisation in Brazil. With a population of approximately 22 million, Sao Paulo experiences serious problems of social exclusion and spatial segregation caused by urbanisation, favelas chaotically grown over last decades are still home to millions of Sao Paulo citizens. Lack of access to basic resources like water, electricity and to important services like education and medical treatment can still be found in the favelas. The city’s large population also creates transport problems, particularly on its roads. Consider, traffic jams often stretch to more than 130 miles in greater Sao Paulo, a sprawling megalopolis accommodating around 20 million people and 6 million cars. Last year more cars were sold here than ever before with nearly 1,000 new vehicles hitting the roads each day (Source: Guardian).

The Sao Paulo Metropolitan Transport Network is the largest rail system in Latin America. It has 13 lines and its total extension is 363 km (being about 225 km within the limits of the city of Sao Paulo). It transports about 8 million people daily. The system is mostly operated by state-owned companies. ViaQuatro is the only private rail company in the Sao Paulo railway system. ViaQuatro won the public-private partnership to operate rail Line 4. The company is recognized for the high technological level of its automated driverless train system. The driverless system allows permanent supervision of speed, offers more safety and precision in curves and bifurcations. The automatic operation is unprecedented in Latin America and is considered the safest in the world. ViaQuatro is the first and only Brazilian metro-rail operator to obtain a safety certificate issued by the international certifying agent TÜV, Germany.

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iSensing is working in partnership with ViaQuatro to deploy a proof of concept IoT sensor network in the city’s metro transportation network. This network will be used to provide real time and historical data on citizen usage trends to plan better services and encourage further investment in the metro network. The proof of concept will be live in August 2018 and iSensing plans to make Sao Paulo key to international expansion plans working with Latin American partners to build additional networks in the city. iSensing’s aim is to install 200 sensors across the city centre though 2019 and to work with public and private sector organisations to enhance transport and city living.

Belo Horizonte  – Brazil’s first modern planned city

Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest city in Brazil, with over 2.3 million inhabitants. The city has the highest increase of vehicles among Brazilian state capitals, with an average of 10% a year. Public transport is inconsistent and delays are constant, the subway has only one line, which is not enough for the city. The most common mean of public transport – bus – is used relied upon. Around 1.5 million people transit in buses through the city everyday. Consequently, buses can be crowded and wait time at bus stops can be long.

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The bus system in Belo Horizonte has a large number of bus lines going through all parts of the city, and is administered by BHTrans, a mixed capital company. The company is responsible for the management of the transportation and traffic system in Belo Horizonte. It is also responsible for the planning and implementation of the city’s traffic and road system; the management and supervision of taxis, public transport services and school transport.

Cross-Government Prosperity Fund is a UK initiative which seeks to promote growth and prosperity in developing countries with huge untapped potential. By addressing urbanisation, climate change and inequality the fund opens up opportunities for partnerships and trade.

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This co-creation approach was the key to bring collaboration between cross-government institutions. Together with the Future Cities Catapult, Belo Horizonte Trans and the UK’s Cross-Government Prosperity Fund, iSensing planned a network to capture citizen behaviour as they stand at bus stops to identify wait time and the bus route they were using. 8 Sensors were deployed, 4 in the main bus station and 4 at key transference stations along the main bus routes. The location of the sensors were collaboratively chosen to capture large cohorts of citizens to enable wide ranging service improvements. The data was delivered into the iSensing dashboard and a bespoke movement analytics platform was developed to visualise movement around the cities key bus routes. The data is used to optimise timetabling of bus services.