Commute Time in Brazil (1992-2009): Differences between Metropolitan Areas, by Income Levels and Gender

Discussion Paper 192, Ipea - Institute for Applied Economic Research

Posted: 7 Jun 2016

See all articles by Rafael H.M. Pereira

Rafael H.M. Pereira

Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA); University of Oxford - Oxford University Transport Studies Unit

Tim Schwanen

University of Utrecht

Date Written: January 1, 2015

Abstract

This study analyzes trends in average commute times in Brazil between 1992 and 2009. It distinguishes between the nine largest metropolitan areas plus the Federal District of Brasília and describes how differences among these areas vary according to income levels and gender. This paper is based on the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), a source of data hitherto little used for transportation studies in Brazil. PNAD data is not conceived strictly for transport planning but is the only large-scale survey in Brazil with annual information since 1992 on commute time at national and subnational levels (states and metropolitan areas). Five main findings are stressed. First, travel to work trips tend to be 31% longer in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest metropolitan areas (MAs) in the country, than the in the other MAs. Second, workers in the poorest population segment (1st income decile) spend on average 20% more time on commuting than the wealthiest decile; 19% of the former make home-towork trips longer than 1 hour against only 11% in the wealthiest group. Third, this gap in commute time between rich and poor is spatially contingent; it is large in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Federal District but almost nonexistent in Salvador, Recife,Fortaleza and Belem. Fourth, the data reveal worsening conditions for urban transport since 1992 as reflected in longer average commuting times. However, these worsening conditions have been more pronounced in the 1st income decile and especially the 7th-10th deciles. As a result, the overall differences across income groups have actually weakened during the period 1992-2009. Finally, the gender gap in average commutingtimes has been reduced considerably over the period considered with only small gaps remaining in the extreme income groups. The present study highlights that trends in average commute times in emerging economies, such as Brazil, need not follow the same trajectories as in the Global North. It also shows the importance of not focusing on national trends only; this will obscure important differences between urbanregions. From a policy perspective, the paper shows the usefulness of the PNAD data for monitoring urban mobility conditions in Brazilian major MAs. Yearly variations in commuting time can among others be used to assess the effects of mass transport investments on urban transport conditions.

Keywords: Brazil,commute time,inequality,metropolitan areas,income,gender,transportation equity,urban transport

Suggested Citation

Pereira, Rafael H.M. and Schwanen, Tim, Commute Time in Brazil (1992-2009): Differences between Metropolitan Areas, by Income Levels and Gender (January 1, 2015). Discussion Paper 192, Ipea - Institute for Applied Economic Research, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2790304

Rafael H.M. Pereira (Contact Author)

Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) ( email )

Av. Pres. Antonio Carlos , 51 - 17 andar
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20020-010
Brazil

University of Oxford - Oxford University Transport Studies Unit ( email )

School of Geography and the Environment
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Tim Schwanen

University of Utrecht

Vredenburg 138
NL-3508 TC Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

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