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China and India Exchange Lessons in the Urban Transport Management
It is no secret that the China and India’s rapid economic expansion has to let to their big cities to quickly urbanize. As much as this has created opportunities for the citizens, it is also bringing problems that may worsen the quality of living.
For that two countries, urbanization has ushered in a surge in the private car ownership that is 310 million vehicles in a China in the year 2017 to India’s 210 million in 2015. As well as the severe traffic congestion, air pollution, and higher greenhouse gas emissions.
To address this, the Global Environmental Facility is working with both the countries in establishing policy frameworks that are promoting public transport and manage to travel demand in the select cities. Face the similar issues and challenges; it is only natural that the two countries come together to exchange expertise.
Dialogue on the go
In five days in early 2018, Indian delegation from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and also affiliating agencies, as well as the World Bank staff on an urban transport development projects in India. It is held a South-South Knowledge Exchange with the team from the World Bank in China and also Chinese government counterparts.
During their stay in a China, the delegation is carrying out a series of the site visits and discussions in Beijing, Suzhou, and Guangzhou. Beyond learning about China’s development, the Indian delegation is sharing lessons of their own relating to the project funding and financing mechanisms including public-private partnerships, public transport promotion, and policies to motivating the local governments to improve urban transport.
It is a priceless chance, says Liu Xin, Deputy Director-General of the Comprehensive Planning Department, MOT for the policymakers from a China and India to sit together, share their past results, current practices and also future outlook.
It is always good to know what your colleagues in another country are doing, and then reflecting their experiences and lessons in our country context. The GEF’s project management offices are also sharing with each other their experiences on implementing projects at the local levels in each country.
Visiting Suzhou, one of the most economically developing cities on China’s eastern coast, visitors are taking a ride on tram line 1. The team bus is running at the speed-distance of 30 km/h, which is connecting 28.5 kilometers within the Suzhou High-Tech Zone and is seamlessly integrating with the metro network.
The delegation is also visiting the bus-only-lane system within the city center of Suzhou, which gives buses the precious right of way along the busy streets to improve running speed.
Mukund Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary of the MoHUA in India, is impressing by the revival of the tram, once seen as obsolete. He is also found the bus-only-lane network at a very cost-effective to improve the speed and quality of the bus service. The Urban planners and policymakers should take all means of public transport into consideration, and choose the right ones that are adapting to their cities in a real circumstance, he says.
In the southern Chinese city of the Guangzhou, where more than 30 bus routes are running through the 23-kilometer-long Zhongshan Road BRT corridor, the delegation members hear of the many changes which bring through the BRT since the year 2010.
It is the first BRT system in China, which is becoming well known internationally for how much it can improve the traffic. But after a several years’ operation, some issues, such as bus platooning, is emerging. It is giving the Indian delegation a sense of the unintending problems that may arise as they work on their BRT projects.
We are now implementing the six green demonstration projects in five Indian cities, which includes BRT components,” says Murli Krishna from the Urban Development Department in the Karnataka.
“When designing the projects, we are thinking of the seamless integration of BRT stations with the Non-Motorized Transport facilities, such as bike lanes and pedestrian ways, in order to better the improving efficiency, safety, cost-effectiveness, and a reliability of public transport and ultimately provides incentives to shift from the use of a private vehicles to BRTs.”
He is also finding Guangzhou’s BRT online payment system attractive, where the riders are paying their bus fare on the mobile apps or scanning a QR code on bus tickets.
In their meetings in the Beijing, the delegation is also discussing electric vehicles and bus terminals with the charging poles for electric buses.
China, after all, now accounts for 50% of global electric vehicles. “EVs are increasingly considering as the critical green low-carbon mobility solution, but that is still in its early stages. At this point, the political commitment and policy support is of the vital importance.
I am happy to find that both Chinese and Indian governments have taken a quick step in embracing the new technology and make significant efforts for the penetration of EVs. We learn a lot from each other down the road,” noting Raman Krishnan, Senior ICT Specialist with the World Bank.
As India and China are moving on their development paths, avenues for the collaboration between these two powerhouses should only grow.
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