In many ways, Curitiba has become the poster child for urban planning. Since the 1970s, it has attracted worldwide attention for pioneering the first Bus Rapid Transit system, under the leadership of then mayor Jaime Lerner. The system, part of the city's "Master Plan," reduced congestion, improved air quality, shortened travel times and improved the comfort and safety for passengers. Bus Rapid Transit has been so instrumental in Curitiba’s fight against congestion and sprawl that the chairman of Habitat II, the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, called it one of “the most innovative cities in the world.”
Curitiba's BRT system now carries 2 million passengers a day and is regularly used by a third of the city’s inhabitants. The system has inspired other cities in the region to follow suit, as seen in Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; and Quito, Ecuador.