Should Rio's Event-Oriented Investment Be Spread More Widely?
Several major urban development and transportation projects are under way in Rio De Janiero as the city prepares for the influx of visitors when it hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and large events associated with the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and World Youth Catholic Day.
According to Urban Development Specialist Mario Durran, the city is undertaking more than just a manicuring effort, investing billions of dollars to remedy long-term infrastructure problems.
Waterfront development in Puerto Maravilha seeks to reconnect the port to the rest of the city through light rail, dedicated bike lanes and the demolition of a double-deck freeway and to establish a mix of uses to populate the area.
The construction of Metro Line 4 will relieve one of the most congested transitways between Rio and the southern suburbs, and three bus rapid transit routes are projected to ferry people back and forth when the games begin. The first phase of the BRT project was completed in 2012 with over 1 million passengers using the system daily.
Bike Rio, which began operating in 2011 provides access to the city's beaches through a bikesharing program popular with tourists. The city is also expanding its bike routes network.
The Rio metro area is home to 12.6 million people with only 50 percent living within the city limits. Largely neglecting the 18 other municipalities consisting of mostly low-income bedroom communities, Rio's infrastructure improvements could stand to extend their reach to the region, contends Durran.