18 Jul 2012

Latin America is thinking big about public transports

In this area, Brazil is leading the way with a pair of highly ambitious projects. The first, the Trem de Alta Velocidad (TAV), will link the economic hubs of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo with the continent’s first high-speed rail connection. The railway will reduce the inter-city journey time from its current five hours to a mere 90 minutes with trains reaching speeds of up to 215mph. The second project is a planned ring road skirting the periphery of São Paulo – a popular outsourcing destination blighted by some of Latin America’s most grinding traffic.

Elsewhere in the region, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic were praised for new public transport initiatives designed to tackle congestion. In Venezuela, an innovative new horse-shore cable car system will link San Agustin in Caracas to some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, while in Santo Domingo a new Metro is already carrying 200,000 commuters a day with a planned expansion for five further lines.

Colombia was also singled out for its plans to improve the country’s often dire inter-city transport with the Autopistas de La Montaña project, which will cross 125 municipalities with 777 miles of road. However, while the Infrastructure 100 praised the project for its potential to “bring huge social benefits and help increase trade and commerce in Colombia and the surrounding region,” in Colombia, the project is mired in controversy over spiraling costs and planning irregularities.

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