MobiLab Experience in São Paulo

In January 2016, the Harvard-DRCLAS Brazil Office and the Mobility Laboratory of the City of São Paulo (MobiLab) partnered to offer an interdisciplinary and intensive January experience. Harvard and Brazilian students had the unique opportunity for high-level practical application of computer science, public policy/administration, economics, and urban planning skills. Students worked with the MobiLab team in an intensive 10-day application development to impact the urban mobility infrastructure in São Paulo. In addition to workspace, technical assistance, and mentoring resources, the participating students had access to all of São Paulo´s mobility-related data, including traffic signal controllers, electronic parking meters, bus GPS systems, and more.

What is MobiLab?

The city of São Paulo faces a formidable challenge of traffic congestion; in 2013 it cost the metropolitan area more than US$ 20 billion. Early in 2014 the city and its lagging bus system decided to innovate and created the MobiLab. The Mobility Laboratory of the City of São Paulo (MobiLab) is an open data laboratory for urban mobility that aims to move beyond the traditional ways governments achieve solutions and instead turns to technological innovation.
In the traditional method, governments hire a large company that usually provides an expensive and time-consuming product to address the urban problem. This solution is monolithic, meaning each new challenge requires a new company to be hired, and these changes are even more expensive and time consuming. MobiLab’s model is focused on small groups applying quick, simple solutions using the available open data. The concept of MobiLab was developed with the objective of improving mobility by:
  • Analyzing urban mobility data (transit and transport);
  • Conceptualizing, testing, and implementing solutions for the existing mobility problems;
  • Analyzing the cost-benefit of new technologies (equipment, apps, software, etc.); 
  • Creating participatory solutions for mobility management.

January 2016

The MobiLab Experience took place in São Paulo, Brazil, from January 10-19, 2016. To better understand how the program was organized, please download the program packet here.

Future Offerings

Information on eligibility, dates, location and costs for future offerings of this program will be made on this page.
For more information, please contact Tiago Genoveze, Program Coordinator: