With another 3 billion people being added to urban populations in the next 40 years, there is greater recognition that things must change. A “new urbanism” is emerging, in which more compact form and better public transport play a central role. But how can a city finance public transport? Few governments at the central or city levels have the public resources to enable adequate investment, leading many to seek private sector solutions, which can bring expertise as well as money. But this, in turn, has proven difficult. Private investors are wary of unreliable policies, weak public administration, and the difficult local politics that often surrounds public transport decisions.
This report, produced by the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, highlights two projects from Brazil that managed to secure private investment for effective public transport infrastructure and operations. These successes indicate that federal governments have a role to play in creating legal and regulatory contexts to support public-private collaboration; and that local governments can effectively craft projects and contracts to reduce private sector risks at the project level.