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Smart city concepts in Curitiba – innovation for sustainable mobility and energy efficiency

Transport and IT-based technologies open opportunities to rethink the development of cities. A consortium between Swedish and Brazilian stakeholders is exploring the deployment of these technologies together with new concepts for urban planning in Curitiba.

 Final report 

In 2013, KTH, the City of Curitiba and institutions including local universities and the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop projects in the areas of mobility, urban planning and environment. The MoU was signed in the presence of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, the Mayor of Curitiba Mr. Gustavo Fruet, and a distinguished delegation composed of Swedish universities and industries.

Since then, a consortium has been formed including KTH, VOLVO, SAAB Combitech, UTFPR (Technical University of Paraná), URBS (Companhia de Urbanização e Saneamento de Curitiba) and IPPUC (Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano de Curitiba) to explore the deployment of new technologies for improved mobility and energy efficiency in Curitiba. The project aims at sustainable technological solutions for the improvement of urban critical infrastructure.

The initiative addresses problems of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions in public transportation, and opportunities created by smart grids for provision of new services. The initiative builds upon the development of a new mass transport corridor in Curitiba. The new corridor allows for incorporation of new space in the urban area, and also the establishment of new concepts of sustainable city.

Curitiba has a long history of sustainable urban development. Since the 1970s, the city has developed structural corridors and explored TOD (Transport oriented development) concepts. In fact, Curitiba was the first city to implement a BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) system. The city has maintained its high environmental profile and is presently a member of the C40 group, a global network of megacities committed to sustainability and advancement of the climate agenda (

Our project aims at helping develop a vision for a smart city. Sustainable solutions require the alignment of local and international stakeholders with national government strategies and policies. Therefore, our approaches are based on a holistic view, a shared vision among citizens and management teams, public participation and strong leadership. This cooperation presents a rare opportunity to bring together city management, utilities, industry, research and development institutes and education institutions from Sweden and Brazil to exchange ideas and improve the urban infrastructure of Curitiba.

System innovation, combining new bus-technologies and information technology to develop electro-mobility, and energy efficient and low-carbon transport services are needed when making urban sustainability a reality. The project includes demonstration of technological solutions by VOLVO and SAAB Combitech to provide smart mobility and a platform for information monitoring and sharing. Research work is carried out by KTH and UTFPR to test and adapt concepts to the context of Curitiba; design the configuration of infrastructure systems; monitor operations, energy and emissions balances; and design scenarios for up-scaling smart concepts and solutions.

Well-articulated urban mobility will help improve the quality of services in the urban area, reduce environmental impacts and open new areas for development. The ambition is to become an international reference, and to pave the way for enhanced cooperation between Swedish and Brazilian actors in Curitiba and in Brazil as a whole.

Project duration:

Oct 2014 to Dec 2017

Project Leader:

Coordinator in Curitiba:

Prof Keiko V. Fonseca 

Swedish-Brazilian consortium 

KTH Royal Institute of Technology ( )

KTH-ECS: Prof. Semida Silveira, Dennis Dreier

KTH-OnLab: Prof. Lena Wosinska, Prof. Paolo Monti, Dr. Matteo Fiorani

Volvo Buses ( )

Rafael Nieweglowski, Renan Schepanski, Jorge Suarez


Johansson Ingemar, Rudin Björn

UTFPR – Federal University of Technology - Paraná ( )

Prof. Keiko V. Fonseca (local coordinator), Prof. Tatiana Gadda, Prof. Ricardo Lüders

City of Curitiba ( )

Fabio Doria Scatolin, Rosane Kupka

URBS – Urbanização de Curitiba S.A. ( )

Gregorio da Silva Junior, Olga Prestes

CISB (Swedish Brazilian Innovation Centre, )  

Alessandra Holmo, Juliana Miura

IPPUC (Institute for Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba, )

Francisco Caron Malucelli

Project brochure

Download the project brochure here (pdf 3.4 MB)

Read more about KTH cooperation with Curitiba

About Curitiba

The city of Curitiba has 1.8 million inhabitants. It has a long history of planning for sustainable development having worked on long-term urban planning and encouraged green spaces, clean environment, and sustainable mobility for at least 4 decades. Examples of pioneering work in Curitiba include the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) introduced in 1974, and the waste collection and recycling program dated from 1989. Diversity and plurality is a typical characteristic of the Brazilian society, also found in Curitiba, and this was used by the local leaders to successfully reach development goals. The efforts made are visible and, as a result, Curitiba is considered the greenest city in Brazil and a world reference on urban and transport system planning. 

In the 1970s, Curitiba was still a peripheral urban area in the southern parts of Brazil. Nevertheless, the city was already struggling with a chaotic expansion of the urban sprawl, and an inefficient urban service provision. The municipality then mobilized efforts and started the implementation of its second Master Plan, one that would change the silhouette of the city in a remarkable way.

Public transport in Curitiba is organized in a well-planned Public Transportation Integrated Network comprising various types of busses which converge towards rapid-transit axes. Occupation density is organized accordingly, going from high densities along the main corridors of rapid transport towards lower densities in areas further away from the corridors. Today, one third of the population uses public transport to go to work. The public transport network combines busses for rapid transport along the main corridors with arterial busses that reach out to areas with lower densities. The city is also served with green corridors which guarantee the access of the local population to green areas.

At present, Curitiba is developing the Green line, a new main axis which is conceptualized and implemented along the lines of other corridors when it comes to transport driven urban development. The Green Line serves to accommodate development pressures in the city along a South-North axis. This transport corridor was integrated with a linear park that brings new environmental benefits. The present project is being developed in the context of development of the Green Line.

However, the new transport corridor also offers the opportunity to rethink the urban evolution in a context of technological developments based on electro-mobility and integrated smart grids. In fact, hybrid busses are being introduced in the city and, gradually, plug-in busses can become a reality. New technologies for improved security, communication and environmental improvement can be explored as the city expands and modernizes its transport systems.

Another important initiative taking shape is the creation of a center of excellence in sustainable urban mobility. This builds upon the urban tradition of Curitiba and shall involve national and international partnerships aimed at the development of innovative solutions not least when it comes to mobility. As part of the mobility plan, surveys are being carried out to make sure that the planned actions are anchored and well perceived by the society. A recent wave of protests in Brazil emphasized the importance of transparency as well as public participation along the whole process.

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