19 February 2021

The Brazilian city of Teresina, located in the northeast of the country, is the site of a particularly innovative experiment in the field of urban transport. As part of the EUROCLIMA+ project funded by the European Union and implemented by AFD (the French Development Agency), SYSTRA has been supporting the improvement of its transport system since 2019.

Our assignment, at the crossroads of collective intelligence and new technologies, has just taken a major step forward, with the presentation of our diagnosis to the mayor of Teresina on 8th February and the launch of the open innovation phase. After a year of work by SYSTRA’s teams in Brazil and Paris, the diagnostic phase of the urban transport network in this city of two million inhabitants is now complete.

“By consulting the stakeholders, the best solutions can be built.”

To carry out our assignment well, a consultation and co-construction approach was adopted. The COVID pandemic has extended the initial timeframe, but the digital solutions have made it possible to carry out the co-construction of the project with the stakeholders.

“We gathered the needs of all the stakeholders in order to understand their expectations, whether through meetings with the trade unions, questionnaires with users, or digital ‘design thinking’ workshops. It is by consulting the stakeholders that the best solutions can be built.”

Mariana Moura, project coordinator in Brazil

This diagnostic phase, which lasted a year, highlighted three issues: trust in the bus network, the question of diversity, through the inclusion of women and persons with reduced mobility, and finally the question of transport efficiency, including environmental efficiency.

In order to find solutions to these issues, the second phase of the project has just been launched around the concept of open innovation. For the city of Teresina, which is in favour of new technologies and lives at the pace of digital technology, it is obvious: technological innovation is one of the keys to its transport problems.

“Whether we’re talking about blockchain technology, ‘mobility as a service’, better data management or electromobility, new technologies and digital solutions offer an unprecedented range of possibilities for all those involved in the mobility field, and the city of Teresina has been able to ask itself the right questions at the right time.”

Joan Serrano, Deputy Director of SYSTRA’s Consultancy & Development Directorate

Bringing projects to life thanks to open innovation

In collaboration with the University of Fortaleza, SYSTRA has therefore developed an approach which consists of bringing innovative projects to the fore through workshops with developers. At the end of these ‘design thinking’ sessions, which are taking place between February and May, the projects which best meet the needs will move on to a POC (Proof of Concept) phase. In a third phase, the best POCs will be selected and can be deployed throughout the city.

But SYSTRA’s assignment is not limited to providing purely technological solutions. A more ‘anthropological’ dimension has also been taken into consideration, with thoughts on tactical urban planning, or on the safety of women using the bus network. A specialist in gender issues is also contributing his expertise to the project.

In addition to this assignment entrusted to SYSTRA, the city of Teresina has launched a Mobility Observatory to monitor transport provision and improve the experience of users.

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