Guangzhou Wins Sustainable Transport Prize
    2011-01-25 13:15:39      Web Editor: Jiang

Southern China's Guangzhou city was named the winner of the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), an international nonprofit organization, on Monday night in Washington, D.C.

A bike-sharing program, wide bicycle lanes lined with trees, and a huge bus system that ties into the municipal rail network are all part of the recipe for a winning transportation system in Guangzhou, according to an article on the prize by National Geographic News.

Jessica Morris, ITDP's Senior Program Director, said Guangzhou won the prize largely because the Chinese city surpassed expectations. The bus rapid transit system which opened in February 2010 carries as many as 800,000 people a day, she said, making it one of the world's largest.

More importantly, the new bus system "hooks up seamlessly" with rail and "idyllic" bicycle paths and bike-sharing stations and helps to make the city "more livable," she said.

Guangzhou's recent transportation efforts make it a place that "goes against the idea of a burgeoning Chinese metropolis that's only serving the economy," Morris said.

The prize committee looks for three factors in a "sustainable" transportation system: The system should benefit both the city's environment and its economy, and it should be equitable, meaning "you should be able to move about your city regardless of income level," Morris said.

Jiangping Zhou, ITDP's Policy Director in Beijing, believes Guangzhou's efforts could be replicated in other Chinese cities.

"If something can happen there, it can happen in Shanghai and Beijing," he said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese city is planning to build a second bus rapid transit route on Guangzhou Avenue following the completion of the first one on Zhongshan Avenue.

The Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute has tabled the submission of a proposal to the Guangzhou Municipal Urban-rural Construction Commission for the projected more than 40-kilometer-long route, the longest in the country, the "New Express" newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Zhongshan rapid bus transit (RBT) system has helped to boost bus speeds by 20 percent-30 percent, according to the Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute. The cost of building the RBT system is only one-fourth the cost of a subway system at around 50 million yuan (7.59 million U.S. dollars) per kilometer, the report said.

In a related development, the capital city of south China's Guangdong Province is considering collecting higher road-use fees from motorists in an effort to alleviate congestion.

Guangzhou's traffic committee is soliciting public opinions on a draft document of measures involving congestion fees similar to those imposed in Singapore and London, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The proposals published on Sunday also include parking fees designed to redirect vehicles to quieter parts of the city and encourage more people to use the public transportation system.

The city will begin constructing 11 new rail routes over the next five years, and 3,000 buses will be added to downtown services, boosting the public transportation proportion of the city's traffic volume to 70 percent from 59.6 percent last year.

Guangzhou also plans to further limit the use of official cars, which contribute to traffic jams on city streets.

Guangzhou has almost 2.15 million registered vehicles. The city's traffic department granted more than 300,000 license plates to new car owners last year.

The number of private cars in Guangzhou has grown at an annual average rate of 22.1 percent over the past five years. The figure is 20.9 percent in Beijing and 21.5 percent in Shanghai.

Guangzhou has more than 90 cars for every 1,000 residents.


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