Transport infrastructure challenges in consolidated urban environments

Railroads play an essential role in the growth of cities and countries, boosting economic and social development by facilitating the efficient and sustainable transportation of freight and passengers. As well as promoting regional integration, railroads help to reduce congestion on urban roads, improving mobility and quality of life for inhabitants.

In Brazil, although the railways have faced challenges over the years such as a lack of investment and the need for modernization, the sector has been going through a period of revitalization and expansion. Through projects to extend existing networks and build new lines, the country is seeking to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of rail transport.

SYSTRA Group, a global leader in the design of rail solutions and projects, is playing a crucial role in the urban mobility and transport infrastructure sector. With its expertise, the company is involved in major projects, making a significant contribution to the country’s economic and sustainable development through the implementation of innovative, high-impact solutions.

Among these projects, it is worth highlighting the Baixada Santista light rail vehicle (LRV) project. Its main objective is to meet the growing demand in the Metropolitan Region by providing a modern transportation system, offering high standards of comfort, safety, and reliability, seeking to upgrade the surroundings and improve public roads.

By providing agile, efficient, and sustainable public transport, the LRV connects neighborhoods, facilitates access to leisure and tourist areas, and even contributes to reducing traffic congestion on urban roads. In addition, this type of technology boosts tourism, promotes local economic growth and improves the quality of life of residents by offering a safe and affordable transportation alternative.

However, works in consolidated urban environments, such as the Baixada Santista tramway, present significant challenges. Due to the high occupational density, it is inevitable that there will be conflicts with buried and overhead networks and pipes during the execution of the tram infrastructure, requiring a great deal of effort to identify and find solutions for relocating interferences along the route. In addition, Santos, one of Brazil’s oldest cities, has numerous listed buildings, which requires careful preservation of its historical heritage.

Therefore, measures to minimize vibration and noise issues during the operation of the tram were adopted, such as the use of a mass-spring system for the permanent way, and urban interventions that harmonize with the city’s context.

The characteristics of the terrain and topography are also decisive in the design solutions. Given that Santos is a predominantly flat city, detailed drainage studies were carried out to ensure efficient integration with the existing infrastructure. This included adaptations to various already established structures, even going beyond the route’s zone of influence to meet the project’s needs.

The construction method is another critical point, with the aim of minimizing the impact on urban dynamics, the movement of people and access to nearby properties. For this reason, it is essential to study the existing road system in order to properly plan the execution of the work, including the temporary and definitive relocation of the signaling system in the area of influence of the LRV.

The Baixada Santista tramway project is a clear example of how to overcome challenges and introduce innovative solutions to improve people’s quality of life, transforming urban mobility and boosting regional development. Its experience should serve as an inspiration for other cities, stimulating investment in high-quality public transport infrastructure.

Don't miss anything, follow us on social media !