Brazil Table of Contents
Before the 1930s, roads and railroads primarily linked production centers to seaports, and there were some connections among major urban centers. Rail links to the rest of South America were never developed in any measure comparable with those among European countries, or between the United States and Canada. Adequate international road links with neighboring countries existed only with Brazil's southern neighbors--Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. By the 1980s, a start had been made on a national road system connecting the various parts of the country. However, construction and maintenance costs were high, slowing extensions to the system as well as the addition of feeder roads. In a country as large as Brazil, with its difficult terrain, a developed transportation system remains many years off (see fig. 10).
By 1992 Brazil's national highway network totaled 1,670,148 kilometers. Paved highway totals 161,503 kilometers; 1,508,645 kilometers are gravel or earth. Paved roads link the capital, Brasília, with every region of Brazil. Roads are the principal mode of transport, accounting for 60 percent of freight and 95 percent of passenger traffic, including long-distance bus service. Major projects include the 5,000-kilometer Trans-Amazonian Highway, running from Recife and Cabedelo to the Peruvian border; the 4,138-kilometer north-south Cuibá-Santarém Highway; and the 3,555-kilometer Trans-Brasiliana Project, which will link Marabá, on the Trans-Amazonian Highway, with Aceguá, on the Uruguayan border.
Data as of April 1997