Using new technologies to map transport flows in Brazil: Case study on the National Land Transportation Regulatory Agency (ANTT)

The competencies of the Brazil’s National Land Transportation Agency (Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres, ANTT) are:

  • granting, inspecting and managing the contract of concessionaires of road and railway infrastructure.

  • providing permits and licenses, inspecting and managing the contracts (when a permit has been granted) of the interstate and international transportation of passengers, by bus and train.

  • registering road freight transportation companies, truckers and trucks; defining and inspecting the minimum rate of road freight transportation in Brazil (new law1 issued in 2018 after Brazilian general strike of truckers).

Inspections are mandatory for all sectors regulated by ANTT. Concerning the road transportation services of goods and passengers, one single ANTT department holds the inspections, the “Inspections Superintendency”.

Inspecting transportation services is difficult and costly due to the size of the country. ANTT does not have enough human resources to cover all the country, although ANTT has approximately 2,400 collaborators throughout Brazil. As an example, due to a lack of personnel, ANTT is not undertaking any inspections concerning the minimum rate of freight transportation services. Indeed, the Brazilian Government did not anticipate the necessity of issuing a new legislation and did not guarantee adequate financial resources through allocated budget. In this sense, the use of technology is deemed necessary to maintain the Agency’s proper functioning.

A fiscal document must be emitted for each transportation operation that involves a payment. Since when the transporter is not transporting goods or when the goods are owned by the transporter there is no need to have a registration at ANTT, not having access to the fiscal documents prevented the agency to efficiently target the enforcement actions for those who are being paid to transport goods, or to make the best use of its scarce human resources.

ANTT initiated a program called “Green Channel Brazil” (Canal Verde Brasil), an intelligent national network for the perception, monitoring and mapping of transport flows in logistics corridors. This system aims at producing data, information and evidence to inform market regulation, national logistics planning, and economic and financial indicators.

The initiative arose four years ago from the identified need to enforce regulatory compliance of freight and passenger transportation in a 1.7 million kilometer highway network. As of today, ANTT has less than 500 agents monitoring regulation enforcement and the number of agents dedicated to enforcement had been reduced at the time. Aiming to decrease the interference of different entities enforcement actions at the transportation sector, which increased the transportation costs, and seizing the opportunity of the recent creation of electronic fiscal documents, the Agency employees developed the program. They submitted it to higher instances of the Brazilian Public Administration without much resistance for approval to guarantee the necessary funds to the project. At that time, many Brazilian Government entities were submitting projects based on technology to amplify their capabilities. With the funds guaranteed, ANTT conducted a bidding process to choose the company that would provide de service of installing and maintaining the infrastructure of the portals and transmitting the data.

Both an optical character recognition camera and an antenna that identifies radio frequency registers that the vehicle passes through the electronic reading point. The use of several identification methods provide enhanced precision as license plates are not always readable nor are the electronic chips always reliable. The vehicle’s identification data, transit timing and geo-referenced location of the electronic reading point are then cross-checked with information registered in other databases of Government and State agencies, to check regulatory compliance.

The advantages of the “Green Channel Brazil” project are:

  • reduction of the logistics costs resulting from the controls on transportation

  • de-bureaucratisation of the state apparatus

  • increased competitiveness of the national product

  • reductions in public funding and investments in analogical control processes and unification of the controls in a single moment, that is, when the vehicle passes through the electronic reading points

  • increased control over transportation operations

  • increased safety

  • generation of information and knowledge for the improvement of the cost and benefit analysis of the regulatory activity of the markets, for planning public policies and investments in the transportation and logistics sectors.

In a phrase, the main advantage of the “Green Channel Brazil” programme is the reduction of the costs of production, transportation and exportation of Brazilian goods. The initiative decreases government costs through sharing data and information with other government agencies.

Thanks to this system, the geographic location of the trucks and their probable time of arrival to the ports can be tracked through approximately 55 portals installed in different roads.

ANTT has already co-ordinated with Santos Port Authority to integrate the network system within the Port Without Paper (Porto Sem Papel) system. Until recently, there was no scheduling system to organise the trucks arrivals to the port. In 2014, the port authority created the requirement to preschedule deliveries. However, in the absence of serious enforcement freight transportation companies did not respect this requirement. In 2014 and 2015, ANTT agents enforced prescheduling by stopping trucks on the highways and requiring truckers to make the appointment before reaching the port, reducing the percentage of unscheduled deliveries to 13%. Since 2016, the Canal Verde Brasil program has been monitoring and enforcing prescheduling of cargo deliveries in co-ordination with the Port Authority. As a result, only 7% of the vehicles get to the port without a prescheduled time window for unloading of cargo (100% before the implementation of the program). The program allowed to put an end to massive traffic jams and delays of cargo delivery. This initiative has translated into a reduction of waiting time for trucks that disembark at the Port of Santos. The estimated loss cost due to congestion in the Port of Santos was BRL 115 million per year before the system implementation.

The connection of the network system with the São Paulo State Treasury Office (verification of goods information transported) helped to achieve a 6% increase in the collection of the value-added tax on sales and services for the São Paulo State over the year 2018 by detecting vehicles that are traveling constantly without an associated fiscal document.

At this stage, the major result of the program for ANTT is that the freight transportation inspection went from 905 213 vehicles inspected between 2010 and 2016, to 116 million vehicles inspected between 2016 and January 2020. In addition, the system also allowed ANTT to inspect irregular vehicles in the transportation of passengers by bus. ANTT intends to increase the use of the system to inspect passenger transportation, which depends on an internal improvement on database interoperability.

The intelligent national network began within ANTT, but its integration with other governmental bodies is crucial. ANTT has already implemented co-ordination concerning entities in the sectors of transportation and transportation regulation, fiscal, justice, agriculture and planning. ANTT usually formalises the co-operation is through a Technical Cooperation Agreement and the co-operation is implemented by the creation and granting of access to webservices by the involved entities. Usually, the agency organises a pilot project of the co-operation to help stablish the technical characteristics of the Cooperation Agreement. The main difficulties in expanding the system and increasing co-ordination with other entities are the budgetary restrictions and the lack of systems in other entities or interoperability issues.

Regarding port entities ANTT has an agreement in force with the Santos Port Authority and aims to help decrease Brazil’s cost of transportation in other ports, enforcing the need of scheduling deliveries and informing the ports of the vehicles moving towards the facilities. ANTT will benefit by the limitation of access to the ports only to registered vehicles, a measure that enforces the need of registration at the agency.

The co-operation with the National Transportation Infrastructure Department (Dnit) and the Regulatory Agency of the State of São Paulo (Artesp) allowed ANTT to install portals at highways not regulated by the agency (2 portals in co-operation with Artesp and 8 with Dnit). The access to the data of Canal Verde Brasil allows Dnit to make better use of its resources. Having access to the traffic volume at the portals, they can avoid paying for surveys when planning the construction of new highways or an intervention at the highways under their responsibility. Artesp is a strategic regulatory agency because of the traffic volume at the State of São Paulo. One studied future use of the data exchange between the regulatory agencies is to prevent toll avoidance. One example is at the beltway of São Paulo. Sometimes vehicles enter the city to avoid paying tolls. With the information exchange Artesp will know the planned deliveries of the vehicle and, consequently, if the vehicle has a planned delivery to the city or if it is avoiding the toll payment.

ANTT gives access to its data on demand to the Federal Road Police and the Ministry of Justice. The access to the list of vehicles that crossed the portals and of passengers transported in services regulated by the agency enables these entities to locate passengers or vehicles that may have problems with the justice system. With the data exchange ANTT can help them locate, for example, stolen vehicles or fugitives. The co-operation with the Ministry of Justice will guarantee free access to the database of the existing vehicles in Brazil. Without the co-operation the access is paid each time the database is consulted.

The Fiscal Entities are of crucial importance since they allow ANTT to have access to the data of those who are providing goods freight service. Every state of Brazil has its own fiscal department, which makes the task more difficult. The state of Rio Grande do Sul, however, is responsible for storing the data of all State Fiscal authorities. Due to legal restraints, ANTT could access only the data of companies that had previously authorised the agency to do so. Hence, until October of 2019, ANTT had access to the data of only 60% of the fleet. Due to a new rule ANTT does not need to have the transporter’s permission to access their data. As a result, the Agency expects an increase of its capacity of enforcing freight transportation.


← 1. Provisional Measure No. 832/2018, converted in Bill No. 13.703, of 8 August 2018, that creates the National Minimum Rate for Land Freight Transportation Services Policy.

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