While we didn’t include it on our top 5 public transportation cities list, Curitiba is definitely a case study in innovative and sustainable mass transit. Despite the small size of the city in Brazil, Curitiba has a well-planned, easily-navigable, efficient, and environmentally-responsible transportation system that big cities worldwide have since been trying to mimic. We like to talk about great green cars for Transportation Tuesday, but what’s greener than a well-designed mass transit system used by 85% of the city’s population?

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The beauty is in the details- from purchasing tickets beforehand to avoid frustrating boarding processes, colorcoding, ranges of systems that service different distance transit, and great wayfinding graphics.

Based entirely on buses and proper land development, the system in Curitiba was designed to provide simple transportation to and from the city center via an (at the time) unique system known as the Trinary Road System: a system in which two roads exclusively for public transport are surrounded by the standard one-way streets for private transport.

This system has proved to be so successful that it has inspired the TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as the Orange Line of Los Angeles, California, and for a future transportation system in Panama City, Transmetro system in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and the Metrobús of Mexico City. Not many public transport systems can say that.

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