For the first time in Latin America an event brought together mayors of Latin-American cities with more than 500 thousand inhabitants partners of the industry and public and private organisations to debate sustainable mobility.

The Convention which took place on 25-26 November in Rio de Janeiro centred on the themes of CO2 emissions global warming congestion and accessibility. Its aim was to rethink infrastructure and transport models in order to improve citizens’ quality of life. Financing and viability of projects were also examined during the conference.

The Convention was hosted by the mayor of Rio de Janeiro and opened by President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. It boasted the sponsorship of Michelin Bradesco Mercedes-Benz Shell CAF Citroën MAN Latin America Amil and Scania. ERTICO Partners Fiat Magneti Marelli and Volvo were also sponsors of this event. The event also had the support of several Brazilian organisation such as Embratur SAE Brazil (Society of Engineers of the Mobility) and ANTP (National Association of Public Transport).

ERTICO had the opportunity of participating at the event as the convention themes were in line the work being accomplished in the SIMBA II and VIAJEO projects. Both projects are EC-funded projects on international cooperation in the field of RTD between EU and Brazil and provide a working ground for the deployment of ITS in both regions.

The organisation  of the event fell to the CTS-Brasil (Center of Sustainable Transport) and to the team of Challenge Bibendum. Launched by Michelin in 1998 Challenge Bibendum is a joint effort of the motor world (car manufacturers OEMs energy suppliers and research centres ). The 10th edition of the Challenge Bibendum will take place in Rio de Janeiro from 30 May to 2 June 2010.

The mission of Challenge Bibendum is to evaluate test and compare the very latest in new vehicles and fuel technologies efficient traffic management systems and advanced safety features. The event is also an opportunity to gain insight into and debate the role of the sector in CO2 reduction. Other hot topics for intense discussion are the impact of oil price volatility the need for energy security and the question of how quickly electric powertrains will develop.

When looking for the spirit of change required to boost the shift towards new technologies and new ways of looking at mobility it is well exemplified by some emerging economies. Hence the choice of Brazil as host country in these challenging times. Brazil has become a leading global player in the development and deployment of biofuels and like some of its other Latin American counterparts it has a high rate of population growth as well as a phenomenal rate of urbanisation  (as high as 81%) resulting in many large and mega cities. These cities face a range of important challenges such as growing transportation needs environmental pollution road safety and urban congestion.

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Original Publication Date: Tue 27 Jul 2010