Having worked on the transport planning for London 2012 Olympic Games, I was curious on how the transport was developing for the 2016 Games in Rio. On a recent trip to Brazil, I went out to see the main Olympic site and saw the preparations underway.
Barra Olympic Park and the BRT
Though many events will take place in the centre of Rio, most of the arenas are under construction on the edge of the suburb of Barra da Tijuca, spectators will need to access the venues by road as, unlike the focus on rail transport to venues in London, Rio is relying on new highways and a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) link to the international airport.
Visitors staying in the existing tourist districts of Copacabana and Ipanema will reach Barra along the AutoEstrada Lagoa-Barra: we saw a lot of construction activity along the road as seen in this Google arial view and in the images below.
Elsewhere, there are venues in the city centre which are accessible by the city’s metro system: comprised of two lines, the network also serves Rio’s central railway station, known as Central do Brasil.
A new light rail network (VLT) is under construction in the city centre too. When complete the VLT will link Central do Brasil station with the city centre (domestic) airport and the regenerated waterfront area.
There is also a traditional (stand alone) tram service that runs from the city centre, close to Cinelândia metro station to the historic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Due to upgrade works, the service currently operates only a short shuttle service up to the area.
Pedestrian and Cycle Infrastructure
Rio has also invested in more local transport measures, there are a lot of bike lanes across the city; however, the compromise of the beautiful setting is that walking between neighbourhoods can involve passing through very polluted road tunnels underneath the stunning mountains.
Author: Liam Henderson