Urban Mobility: what it is and the search for solutions

Find out what urban mobility is and how it affects the quality of life for all of us. Also learn about some actions that institutions can develop in terms of sustainable planning in large urban centers, in order to democratize access to the city.

When you need to travel around your city, whether to shop, get to and from work or even to exercise, what image do you project in your head? Is it positive or negative?

Because if you believe that there are points of improvement in your journey through the streets, sidewalks and avenues, among other factors, you are thinking about urban mobility. And the name doesn't need to scare you, because it's a term of common interest to everyone.

Find out what urban mobility is and how it affects the quality of life for all of us. Also learn about some actions that institutions can develop in terms of sustainable planning in large urban centers, in order to democratize access to the city.

What is urban mobility?

“The way to build a city influences life”, is what Danish Jan Gehl, one of the most influential architects and urban planners in the world, says.

Second article by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), urban mobility is movement within a space, which can be done on foot, or by means of transport vehicles, in order to meet the social and economic needs of the population.

It is this movement in cities that promotes the development of social and economic relations. Reflecting on urban mobility means thinking about how life happens and what prevents it from being better and more sustainable.

Therefore, urban mobility directly influences the well-being of society, which demands the creation of policies that guarantee the ability to flow through urban spaces, whatever the starting point, whether in large centers or peripheral areas.

Sustainable urban mobility

One of the main objectives of urban mobility planning is to do so in a way that, in addition to the main objective of facilitating movement across geographic spaces, is also concerned with the environment.

The increase in urbanization and the concentration of people in large centers also generated a boom in motor vehicles – but mainly cars. And they are directly linked to actions for more sustainable urban mobility.

This is because the large number of vehicles that are powered by fossil fuels lead to air pollution. The emission of greenhouse gases greenhouse effect harms nature and worsens climate change.

Therefore, it is necessary to think of ways to contain the unbridled growth of automobiles and alternatives for a more optimized and ecologically less harmful flow in cities.

Types of sustainable mobility


  • Encouraging the use of bicycles or electric cars, means of transport that do not use the pollutants carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide and methane.
  • Creation of urban parks for rest and physical activities to encourage more common activities on foot.
  • Investment in quality and integrated public transport so that the population uses fewer cars. The calculation is very simple, how many car drivers can fit as passengers on a bus or subway?

Urban mobility in Brazil

Brazil is a country of many natural beauties and paradisiacal tourist scenarios, however, unfortunately, the most common scenario for those who live in large cities is traffic, with long queues of cars.

The large concentration of automobiles in Brazilian cities comes from a phenomenon that began in 1930 in the country with the urbanization of cities following the arrival of large industries.

Allied to this is a very strong culture in the country and even a certain attachment to road transport, to the detriment of investment and creation of more railways, waterways and other alternatives to relieve Brazilian roads.

To achieve this objective, however, it is necessary for public authorities to commit to urban mobility plans, including those provided for in Brazilian legislation through law 12.587/12, which consists of determining that municipalities plan and execute urban mobility policy, prioritizing non-motorized means of transport and collective public transport services.

Challenges of urban mobility in Brazil

Vehicle congestion and the resulting air pollution are the biggest challenges facing urban mobility in Brazil. To give you an idea, Recife has already been classified as one of the ten metropolises in the world where the most time is wasted in traffic.

Other Brazilian capitals do not appear at the top, but they also have worrying data, such as São Paulo, the most populous city in the country, where almost 1 hour is lost in traffic every day, with impacts that are already being quantified by researchers.

Brazil needs to overcome the preference for individual transport, the scarcity of cycle paths and the lack of investment and awareness of the importance of quality public transport, thinking about how it wants to be remembered in matters of urban mobility and the quality of urban life for its citizens.

Important cities in the world are references on topics that influence urban mobility. Amsterdam, for example, is the capital of bicycle country. Tokyo, Japan, a reference in rail transport with its bullet trains.


Solutions for urban mobility in Brazil

– Integrated public transport (buses integrated with trains)

– Invest in transport technologies that do not use fossil fuels
– Expand the spaces and routes served by public transport
– Rethink and make urban activity schedules more flexible to improve mobility throughout the day
– Develop new technologies, such as electric motorcycles, drones and robots, for example, for deliveries

What is the role of iFood in urban mobility

Urban mobility is the responsibility of public authorities, but it is also a reflection of the awareness of people and companies that build the country's large centers. In this context, each step is important and that is what iFood is committed to.

iFood, through its delivery customers, is on the street every day bringing food products to Brazilians' homes. Thinking about more sustainable urban mobility, iFood created projects such as iFood Pedal, highlight of the year 2020 in the innovation category on the Mobility track.

iFood Pedal aims to share exclusive electric bicycles for delivery drivers registered on the platform, in addition to providing professional support and training through digital courses. know more clicking here!

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