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Traffic congestion in Rio and São Paulo can cost R$ 98 billion

14/08/2014 17h38 - Atualizado em 02/12/2016 11h28

Traffic jam in São Paulo.

According to the study "The costs of (im)mobility of metropolitan regions of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo", published by the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), traffic congestion in the two cities generate a cost R$ 98 billion in 2013.

According to FIRJAN, the calculation is based on the loss of production not achieved and the extra expense of fuel. This number is equivalent to 2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product; sum of goods and riches generated by the country) last year.

Rio de Janeiro added that in 130km of traffic jams, an average of R$ 29 billion was lost in 2013 - equivalent to 8.2% of metropolitan GDP. In São Paulo, during the same period, the cost of 300km daily congestion totaled R$ 69.4 billion - 7.8% of GDP.

The study also shows that hush hour in these cities already lasts for 11 hours per day. In São Paulo, the times are from 5:30 am at 8:30 am, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm and from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. In Rio de Janeiro, the hours are from 5:30 am to 11 am and from 2:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

The economist and expert on industrial competitiveness and investment FIRJAN, Riley Roberts, says that daily, 23.4 million trips in Rio and in 43.8 million trips in São Paulo happen. In Rio, the corresponding number to travel by foot or bicycle to reach 7.1 million, while in São Paulo is 14.3 million.

The study shows a possibility of the situation getting worse. If definitive and appropriate measures are not taken, by 2022 this cost can reach R$ 40 billion in Rio and R$ 120 billion in São Paulo.

According to Rodrigues, investments in urban mobility have no impact on reducing congestion. "They reduce the rate of growth of congestion, which grows more slowly, but does not reverse the curve and begins to decline," says the economist.

Congestion in large cities happen because all moving to the same place, at the same time. To solve this problem, more investment in mass transport and flow change is necessary.

One of the suggestions given by the study is to create options for people to work closer to home. "By doing this, we distribute trips throughout the metropolitan area; stop playing everyone in the same direction, at the same time", says Rodrigues. This initiative, besides improving congestion would cause a development in depressed areas of the city.