Carcentrism in check? A critical analysis of the policies adopted in the city of São Paulo between 2012-2016 and future perspectives

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla (2017)



Despite the market growth in developing countries in the last decades, the automotive industry has lived in persistent "crisis" in the entire world. Although efforts to improve economic efficiency are considerable (such as lean manufacturing, modularization and product platforms) the profitability of automakers and suppliers has been declining. Add to that the entry of new global players, such as Korean and Chinese automakers.

While it is difficult to say that the automotive industry is in an inexorable decline, evidences have shown that the 21st century can determine the end of a particular mobility model based on the individualized use of the car for the automotive industry. Yet new opportunities for new business models and products emerge in new challenging contexts.

Since 2013, a series of public demonstrations in large Brazilian cities has shown public dissatisfaction with transportation policies. Since then, Federal, State and Municipal governments have invested more effort in policies aimed at improving the quality of public transportation.

The purpose of this article is to analyze how the public policies on urban displacement adopted in the last four years in the city of São Paulo paved the way for a discussion of a new perspective on urban mobility in the city, especially with the decrease in the use of motor vehicles as an individual element of displacement. During this period, mobility was chosen as a priority for the municipality. Different initiatives were taken with different reactions and results.


Based on bibliographic research, municipal government reports, press material and interviews with relevant agents in municipal transport policies, the research will seek to cover the following topics:

a) carcentrism - concepts, experiences in other similar cities, strands of discussion;
b) profile of the city of São Paulo and urban mobility planning; the challenge of thinking in terms of mobility in one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world;
c) initiatives concerning public mobility in the city of São Paulo during the years 2012 - 2016:

i. extension of the cycleway network;
ii. reduction of maximum speed in the main urban corridors of the city;
iii. deployment of bus lanes;
iv. regulation of Uber and similar activities;
v. limitation of cars circulation on weekends and holidays

d) resistance and perspectives from new governments (Federal and Municipal) and implementation of changes among strong political polarization (post-protests 2013).

Some Preliminary Findings

Changing the paradigm of urban mobility presupposes cultural change, that is, urban mobility as an expression of the conflict of occupation of spaces in the city, even with some problems and adjustments that should be made, point in the right direction. Changes in the culture of the automobile - loss of interest of young middle class in automobiles.

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