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Providing Better Accessibility to Rural Communities in São Paulo, Brazil

April 4, 2017

Road recovered in the region of Araçatuba. Photo: Ciete Silvério/www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br

São Paulo State rehabilitated 11,968 kilometers of paved feeder roads to improve accessibility to its rural communities. In parallel with this effort, São Paulo strengthened its capacity in planning and managing infrastructure programs, assessing environmental impacts of infrastructure investments, and attracting private-sector participation in infrastructure improvements.


The paved feeder roads in the state of São Paulo, totaling 12,800 kilometers, constitute the essential backbone of mobility for the local communities in the 645 municipalities and provide crucial access to the state’s main transport corridors. By the mid-2000s, however, the condition of the roads had deteriorated to the point that over 60 percent were in poor condition, despite the state’s ongoing efforts over the preceding 30 years to pave and maintain them. This situation resulted in high transport costs and presented a bottleneck slowing economic development in the region.  


The Brazil São Paulo State Feeder Roads Project was designed to assist the state of São Paulo in implementing the third and fourth phases of the its Feeder Road Investment Program (Pro-Vicinais), which had been initiated by the government in 2007 to substantially improve the condition of the rural paved roads. In addition, the project was developed to include World Bank assistance in improving public administration efficiency in planning and managing infrastructure programs, modernizing environmental management systems for assessing infrastructure projects, and consolidating the state’s capacity to attract private-sector participation in infrastructure improvements.

Road recovered in Laranjal Paulista Photo: Cris Castello Branco/www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br


The Brazil São Paulo State Feeder Roads Project contributed resources to improve São Paulo’s paved feeder road network and the state’s management capacity in infrastructure investments. Primary achievements of the project included the following:

  • 11,968 kilometers of feeder roads were rehabilitated by June 2015, including 3,300 kilometers financed by the project and the remainder financed by the borrower and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • The condition of the paved feeder road network was improved from a baseline at which only 23.6 percent were in good condition in 2009 to the current situation in which 97.6 percent of the network is in good condition.
  • The turnaround time for evaluating environmental licensing requests for medium- and small-sized projects, including the road project, improved 50 percent from the 2009 baseline to 120 days in 2014.
  • A unified online platform for initiating and processing public-private partnership (PPP) projects in all infrastructure sectors was developed in 2015 to increase efficiency and transparency.

The above outputs enabled the following project outcomes:

  • Economic costs to users of the paved feeder road network under the Pro-Vicinais program was reduced by 7.7 percent.
  • 91 percent of road users were satisfied with the improvements, and 38 percent of users increased the frequency of their work-related trips due to the improved road conditions.
  • Capacity-building in São Paulo State’s public-sector management contributed to the efficiency and sustainability of the infrastructure investment programs. Major deliverables of the project, including the road inventory and a georeferenced information system, environmental licensing and georeferenced systems, and the PPP toolkit are incorporated into state agencies’ operational processes.

Road that connects the Guarani Power Plant to the municipalities of Olímpia and Severinia Photo: Gilberto Marques/www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br

Bank Group Contribution

The Bank (through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) provided financing of US$ 166.65 million in 2009 to assist in the third phase of the São Paulo State Feeder Roads Project covering 3,100 kilometers and institutional capacity-building. To conclude the third phase and to initiate the fourth (and last) phase, which will undertake improvements of an additional 3,200 kilometers of roads, the Bank provided further financing of US$ 326.78 million in 2010.


The ProVicinais program was completed with financing from the Bank (a loan of US$ 486 million for the third and fourth phases of the program), the IDB (a loan of US$ 180 million for the second phase), and the São Paulo state government (US$ 953 million for all phases). In addition, the Bank provided US$ 6 million for the institutional strengthening component, an amount complemented by the state financing of US$ 4 million.

Moving Forward

In 2013, the Bank approved the São Paulo Sustainable Transport Project for Brazil to support activities, particularly in transport and logistics planning and environmental management, which had been initiated under the Brazil São Paulo State Feeder Roads Project. Technical assistance under the new project includes promoting Brazil’s road safety agenda, which extends to users of rural roads. Municipal governments are responsible for maintaining the rural roads rehabilitated under the program. All municipalities participating in the program were required to commit to adequately financing their roads.


The improved condition of feeder roads supported rural communities in enhancing their accessibility to healthcare services, education, and markets. Furthermore, the entire São Paulo state, and even the country as a whole, can expect indirect benefits from the project’s positive impact on the capillarity of the road network and on the resulting competitiveness, enhanced employment, and economic growth. Finally, the state government entities’ institutional strengthening is expected to have a wide, long-term impact on the entire population through improved public-sector management, reduced logistics costs, and more efficient environmental management.

Economic costs to users of the paved feeder road network under the Pro-Vicinais program was reduced by 7.7%.

Project map