By Astrid Gühnemann
Thankfully, after my travel disruptions from yesterday our colleagues from LASTRAN were able to reschedule our planned meeting. We had an intereresting talk about possible options for co-operation between LASTRAN and ITS. After that, I gave a seminar to staff and PhD students at LASTRAN.
As can be seen from the coats in the pictures, temperatures in Porto Alegre are currently nowhere near those in Rio, and – typical of many countries with few cold days – the heating systems cannot quite keep up. Now I am off for a couple of days holiday at the Iguazu Falls. We have been told it’s almost as cold there, so bringing a warm jumper was really worth it.
That’s it from me for this time. Goodbye, Astrid
PS: The last three posts were delayed due to lack of internet. Iguazu Falls are not quite as cold as Porto Alegre, but very, very wet.
By Astrid Gühnemann
The original plan was to fly from Santos Dumont to Porto Alegre on Monday morning and meet with colleagues from LASTRAN at UFRGS (http://www.producao.ufrgs.br/interna.asp?cod_tipo=2) with whom ITS have a longstanding relationship through Alumni and research co-operation. However, my morning flight got cancelled because the incoming plane had mechanical problems and needed to be redirected to the international airport in Rio where the runway is longer. Phew, luckily this didn’t happen on my flight. However, as a consequence all passengers had to be booked on other flights and I only arrived in Porto Alegre in the early afternoon. An accident when another car bumped into the back of our taxi added some extra excitement to the day. The compensation between the guilty car driver and the taxi driver was resolved in an admiringly calm and informal way, which would be unthinkable in my home country, where every little scratch of a car is treated like a major incident. All in all, a day that demonstrated the vulnerabilities of transport systems from a traveller’s perspective.
By Astrid Gühnemann
Today I got first hand experience of different forms of transport in Rio. A closed Metro station entrance meant we took a bus across the city to see the ciclovia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciclov%C3%ADa) at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In addition to the provision of segregated cycle lanes along the shoreline, on Sundays the road along the beaches is closed for cars and taken over by pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders and any imaginable form of non-motorised transport. This provides a nice and safe environment for enjoying a day on the beach. It has to be said, though, that the provision for cyclists on the rest of the network in Rio is rather patchy. It also took us two hours and a detour via central station to get back to the hostel after taking the wrong bus due to lack of information whether the right bus would ever show up.
By Astrid Gühnemann
After all the excitement of the WCTR and of starting my post-WCTR tour my age caught up with me today in the form of a cold. So I decided to have a slow day starting with a short walk in the morning to the Escadaria Selarón which are close to our hostel.
The ‘Magical Steps of Lapa’ as titled in The Rio Times (http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-travel/the-magical-steps-of-lapa-2/) are an impressive piece of art, which inspired us to think we should create something similar on the steps to ITS so that every ITS alumni can leave a lasting impression. Well, health and safety will never allow it, but it was a nice idea anyway.
Palacio Gustavo Capanema
While the younger and fitter colleagues were off to conquer sugarloaf mountain by climbing or cable car I then walked a few hours around the Central Business District in the city centre where interesting pieces of modern and old architecture can be detected, such as the Palácio Gustavo Capanema and the Palácio Tiradentesas shown in the pictures above and below.
Visit at Ippur with Alberto de Oliveira, Rainer Randolph, Paul Timms, Mauro Kleiman, Greg Marsden and Ersilia Verlinghieri.
By Astrid Gühnemann
On Friday, a day after the WCTR conference several colleagues (Paul Timms, Greg Marsden, Ersilia Verlinghieri and myself) visited IPPUR (Institudo de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano e Regional), the Urban Planning Institute at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (http://www.ippur.ufrj.br/).
We were welcomed by Director Prof. Raimund Randolph and his colleagues Prof. Mauro Kleimann, Prof. Alberto de Oliveira, Prof. Marcelo Gomes Ribeiro. The visit was excellently prepared by our colleague Antonio Ferreira who could not be present in Rio in person but by video. We found that there is significant common research interest between the two institutes in many areas, for example urban mobility and social impacts, urban and multi-level governance, wider economic impacts of large investments on e.g. labour markets, and policy integration. We agreed to further explore detailed co-operation options through e.g. exchange programmes of researchers and PhD students in the near future.
After the visit Greg had to make his way home to Leeds, while Paul, Ersilia and myself took the opportunity to visit the Cantagalo favela where we were guided by a local inhabitant through the numerous alleys. I was impressed by the friendliness of the people, but the cramped living conditions with very poor accessibility in such close vicinity of the richer parts and tourist buzz of Copacabana just highlight how important work on urban development and mobility is and we hope that our joint research with IPPUR can one day make some positive impact.
The final day of the conference was limited to a morning of a small number of sessions followed by the closing ceremony.
The closing ceremony
Gillian Harrison from ITS was presented with a certificate as winner of a WCTRS Prestige Grant 2013 for her research work documented in her paper entitled “New fuels, New rules? Development of inequality impact indicators of alternative fuel vehicle policies”.
Gillian receiving her award
The afternoon was spent visiting the Alemao cable car network, a social inclusion initiative by the Brazilian government to provide a mass transit aerial lift passenger system with 150 gondolas covering 3.5km. It takes 16 minutes to the access one of the city’s main metro lines. The people who live in 20,000 homes in the neighbouring favelas are allocated 2 tickets a day. Built by Swiss engineers the cost of the free tickets is subsidized by the cost for tourists.
The cable car over Alemao
The funicular railway at Corcovado
The following day the Rio team headed to Corcorvado to experience the buses, a funicular railway up the mountain mountain and much walking (as the tram system in our new neighbourhood of Santa Teresa no longer operates). Given that 60,000 people visit the christo redemptor statue each year imagine our surprise at bumping into the university of Leeds Catholic society who were here as part of world youth day in one of the numerous queues we endured. The pope is due next week and already the city is overflowing with people making demands on an already challenged transport system. This poses questions around the capabilities of Rio hosting such high profile world events and its potential disruption to regular transport services.
By Stephen Parkes
My trip to Rio de Janeiro for WCTR got off to a bumpy start with my first flight being cancelled! This resulted in a 6 hour wait at Leeds Bradford Airport and me missing my connecting flight from Heathrow to Rio. The irony of the fact that I was travelling to a transport conference and found myself in this predicament was certainly not lost on the other people in my queue at the airport! I did eventually arrive in Rio about 9 hours later than planned which gave me a couple of hours rest before going straight into day 1 of the conference. My research is examining disruption to travel, perhaps this stood me in good stead!
It’s been a busy few days seeing lots of talks and meeting new people. This has been a great opportunity to connect with fellow PhD students from around the world and learn about their research and own experiences. I also met someone I had not seen for a year and a half so it has also been a good chance to reconnect with people.
I presented my paper on the travel behaviour impacts of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in one of the last sessions of the conference. The presentation itself went well and there were a couple of questions at the end I had to tackle. The session was all about the Olympics and there were some interesting presentations included. As the next Olympics are being held in Rio it was a very topical session and there was a good debate at the end about Rio’s hosting of the Games and whether they could make it a success. As Ersilia mentioned in her earlier blog post the recent protests in the city are in part due to the concern about the financial costs of next year’s FIFA World Cup and the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016, and this was reflected in the debate.
Presenting my research
We now have a couple of days to explore Rio and it’s transport ‘disruptions’ before heading back to the UK. Here’s to hoping the journey back will be a far less disrupted one!