São Miguel Paulista’s Area 40

São Paulo was one of the ten cities selected for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Initiative, which aims at reducing injuries and fatalities from collisions and road crashes worldwide. São Paulo and Fortaleza were the two Brazilian cities selected to participate in the initiative for having presented ambitious proposals and comprehensive road safety plans.

The program includes physical changes for the so called Areas 40 in the city of São Paulo: traffic calm zones with speed limit defined as 40 km/h, aiming to ensure greater safety for the most vulnerable users of the road system, such as pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to controlling speed limits through signals and devices, the proposals considered redesigning the road geometry and using other resources to encourage vehicles to respect the imposed limit. WRI Brasil invited Cidade Ativa to analyse São Miguel’s Area 40, located in the east zone of São Paulo. The area plays a main role within the city’s east zone, a retail destination  around one CPTM train station.

There is a lot of commercial activity in the region. Credit: Cidade Ativa

The research aimed at collecting quantitative and qualitative data from selected spots inside Area 40. It included pedestrian and vehicle counts, stationary activity mapping (people’s behaviour on a specific space), interviews, and evaluation of sensory criteria related to the pedestrian experience. In addition, graphics, diagrams and drawings summarized main information for easier visualization analysis.

The great flow of passers-by  revealed in the research contrasts with the physical conditions of the road infrastructure: sidewalks, for example, do not have adequate dimensions and materials; there is also a lack of signaling at various crossings, forcing users to risk their lives as they walk down the road. This diagnosis relates aspects of the built environment with road use data, bringing important elements for future interventions and can also be used as an indicator of success of the projects proposed in the area.