Sustainable Transport for Chinese Cities: Volume 3

Cover of Sustainable Transport for Chinese Cities

Table of contents

(24 chapters)

This book brings together a number of the papers presented at a workshop hosted by Tongji University, Shanghai, on the implications of green urban transport in China under the auspices of the World Conference on Transport Research Society in September 2010. It is in five sections. Section 1 includes this introductory chapter, which summarises the content of the rest of the book, Chapter 2 is on trends in city size, and Chapter 3 provides an overview of Chinese transport policy. Section 2 considers approaches to policy formulation, drawing on experience in Europe and Asia. Section 3 focuses on passenger transport and traffic, while Section 4 covers freight and logistics. Section 5 draws together the principal conclusions of the 15 papers.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to project the global emergence of megacities through the 21st century using population scenarios consistent with the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Methodology – A dynamic urban growth model is developed based on a scale-independent theory of growing networks taking into consideration the geographical and climatic suitability of the location of cities. The model is able to generate a series of megacity projections consistent with an experimental city size distribution based on a national urban population scenario consistent with Zipf's law. The model is applied to population projections for 45,316 cities around the world using three population scenarios from SRES.

Findings – All of the projections indicate that a large number of megacities will be generated in developing regions towards 2100, although the range is wide and depends on the population assumed in the scenarios. Some results indicate an extreme population concentration in megacities; this might be undesirable for national security, quality of life, and sustainable development. Transport policies affect urban growth and national land development through changes in mobility and accessibility across the nation.

Implications – The results presented in this chapter could serve to stimulate discussions on urban and national transport policies and planning, particularly in China.

Purpose – This chapter explores the functions of institutional setting, technical requirements and local city characteristics as they affect the implementation of sustainable urban travel policies in China under the pressure of fast motorization and the constraints of energy and resource limitations.

Methodology – We reviewed the documents related to sustainable urban transport vision in China from central government and compared the motorization and urban transport policy at local city level in relation to social equity, urban transport finance, as well as the challenge of an ageing society.

Findings – The concept of sustainable development had been widely talked about in China but has not yet been effectively translated into actions in urban transport. There is a need to strengthen the synchronization of central government and local government strategies on sustainable transport in order to achieve less car-dependent cities.

Research limitations/implications – We need more research to understand the specific characteristics of the Chinese urban transport system and the constraints on the implementation of sustainable transport policy at a local level.

Practical and social implications – The achievement of a higher share of walking and cycling will greatly improve sustainable urban mobility, in terms of social equity, quality of urban life and also fossil energy consumption.

Originality – Current policy documents and implementation practice were analysed to provide the reader with a deep understanding of urban transport policy in China.

Purpose – Urban transport policies are about to undergo major changes. In cities where, a few years ago, highway projects were favoured (i.e. the first stage of accessibility), other priorities are taking shape. Many large cities have opted for the development of public transit (i.e. the second stage of accessibility). Car travel would seem no longer to have any priority, despite the fact that it still accounts for bulk of transportation.

Methodology – This chapter sheds light on these new tendencies by referring to the long-established concept of accessibility, and especially gravity-based accessibility, which is enjoying a new lease of life. Introducing accessibility measures within GIS tools helps us to understand why public policies are now addressing new challenges.

Findings – The third stage of accessibility is characterised by a lower role given to individual time gains. A new approach is coming that pursues the collective interest by optimising land use.

Research limitations/implications – In order to have the best understanding of what is at stake within the third stage of accessibility; researchers have to propose map-based tools showing the concrete impacts of accessibility changes.

Practical and social implications – Those maps can show that in some cases, even transit speed can lead to some perverse effects like urban dispersion, longer distances commuted and even increased travel time budget.

Originality – Sustainability issues are underlining the fact that accessibility improvements have to be obtained rather by denser catchment areas of trips than by increasing the size of the catchment areas.

Purpose – This chapter introduces the basic strategy and practice for developing a sustainable transportation system in China, and puts forward problems and directions of improvement.

Methodology – To begin with, the chapter elaborates on the development background of the Chinese urban transportation system and on the challenges in terms of urbanization, mechanization, and resource constraints. The chapter then systematically summarizes the implementation strategy for developing a green transportation system in China, including the government's leading role, public transportation system resource integration, the combination of nonmotor traffic and public traffic, and traffic demand management policy. It illustrates these with specific examples of practical activities conducted.

Findings – Finally, in response to typical problems challenging China, this chapter puts forward directions of improvement for aspects of land utilization, planning, intelligent transportation, traffic demand management, and public participation.

Implications for China – During the critical period featuring rapid growth of private motor vehicle population and transformation of urban traffic development policy, this chapter contributes to building a consensus among the Chinese government and the civil society and to promoting the implementation and sound development of sustainable transportation system by adopting comprehensive measures.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to propose a cross-assessment model as an analytical tool for developing sustainable urban transport and land-use strategies for a low-carbon society.

Methodology – A cross-assessment model is developed based on demand and supply models of transport services. The model is able to generate a set of the optimal service levels in public transport reflecting selected target strategies. It is applied to an impact analysis of public transport and land-use strategies in 2030 for all of Japan's 269 urban areas,with outcomes – including the financial balance of public transport operation, user benefits and CO2 emissions reduction – compared among strategies and urban areas.

Findings – The analytical results show that three value factors of efficiency, equity and the environment do not necessarily conflict with each other. In particular, it is clarified that CO2-emission reduction targets can contribute to the improvement of both financial balance and user benefits at the national level. In addition, the results of comparative analysis among the land-use and transport integration (LUTI) scenarios demonstrate that a combination of urban transport strategies and land-use control in the form of ‘corridors and multi-centres’ provides greater emission reduction and increased user benefits.

Implications – The cross-assessment model developed in this chapter could serve as an analytical tool for strategic transport planning. The results in this chapter underlinethe benefit of LUTI strategies particularly in China.

Purpose – This chapter outlines the need for policy packages in urban areas, demonstrates how effective policy packages can be designed by combining appropriate policy instruments and discusses the implications for Chinese cities.

Methodology – The results in the chapter are derived from a predictive model of two UK cities (Edinburgh and Leeds), an objective function to reflect a city's objectives and constraints, and an optimising routine which identifies the most effective level of intervention for each policy instrument.

Findings – Where available, fuel taxes, fare levels, road pricing charges, low-cost capacity improvements and public transport frequencies are the most effective policy instruments. Optimal combinations designed to cost no more than current strategies offer substantial benefits to society. Infrastructure projects typically offer much lower value for money. Strategies designed to meet challenging climate change targets can be designed, but may well substantially reduce other benefits.

Research limitations/implications – Other policy instruments such as awareness campaigns and walking and cycling measures could be tested in a similar way. Similar analyses could be conducted in high growth contexts typical of Chinese cities.

Practical and social implications – Policy packages will be important for Chinese cities. They are likely to differ from European specifications, and include greater use of infrastructure. The methodology presented here could be applied to their design.

Originality – The chapter brings together research reported elsewhere, presents some new results on synergy and discusses the implications for China.

Purpose – This chapter draws on examples from the United Kingdom where changes in transport policy direction have occurred and considers how lessons that emerge might be applied in China.

Methodology – It is difficult to change the direction of transport policy decisions once embarked upon. The reason for this relates to the high cost and long-term nature of many transport interventions and the complex nature of transport problems which require the introduction of packages of measures rather than individual projects. This complexity that frequently sees changing circumstances can however lead to the adoption of a new policy direction. The issue is how such changes in policy direction can be achieved given the constraints identified. To this end, this chapter presents a series of notable examples of policy change from the transport sector in the United Kingdom to draw lessons from both the development of over-arching transport policies and the implementation of specific transport planning measures as instruments of policy across a geographical range of transport sectors. Specifically it draws on a literature review and presents a series of vignettes to outline the motivations and factors which can be seen to bring about transport policy change in the surface (land) transport sector.

Findings – Specifically the chapter finds that so-called ‘agents of change’ can be categorised as follows:

1.Public and political identification of a problem;2.The emergence of suitable policy ideas or solutions; and3.The occurrence of some kind of event in the policy arena.

Research limitations/implications – From these three categories, lessons are drawn from which policy makers and policy shapers in locations other than the United Kingdom (particularly China) can benefit.

Practical and social implications – The chapter aims to influence the broader debate in terms of delivering transport policy change – with the emergence of agents, most notably the growth of the environmental movement and its influence on policy, a comprehensive research base for policy making and political events at the UK and international level.

Originality – The chapter is based on a number of vignettes that seek to identify the factors that are influential in supporting policy change on a national, area-wide or site-specific basis in the United Kingdom.

Purpose – The objective of this chapter is to draw the attention of policy makers in the fields of urban planning and transport in China to the importance of developing more balanced multi-modal transport systems and the corresponding land-use patterns to support transport systems, particularly walking and cycling in order to address the issues arising from the dense, highly mixed land-use pattern in many Chinese cities. This will help to reverse current planning practices which give car-oriented development top priority and less consideration of walking and cycling.

Methodology – Statistical methods have been applied to analyse modal split in some cities in Japan, Beijing and Shanghai using travel surveys, plus analysis of the experience of policies in various cities around the world, especially in terms of the relationship between the modal shares for public transport and car. Door-to-door travel times have been analysed for Shanghai to understand the potential of cycle or e-bicycle in a dense urban environment.

Findings – The change in travel modal split in Beijing in recent years suggests that simply encouraging public transport cannot control use of car. The data from Japan also shows that normal bus services cannot compete with the car, but it is clear that people will travel less by car if there is a high non-motorized share in the city. Because of the low density of the metro network, the door-to-door travel speed by metro is not as fast as is often imagined, due to the long off-metro time. The people who use metro are often not the people who live very close to metro stations, but some distance away, so improving the connection to the station by cycle or e-bicycle could greatly reduce the total travel time by metro.

Research limitations and implications – More analyses should be conducted in medium-size and small-size cities in China, where the local capacity is low and there is great potential to travel by walking and cycling, but only after clear guidance and policy instruments have been provided by higher authorities.

Practical and social implications – There is still a relatively high share of non-motorized travel in China. Many cities still have extensive cycle infrastructure established under the State Code of Urban Road Transport Planning issued in 1995. Encouraging non-motorized transport systems is not only possible, but also good for the environment, and contributes to travel efficiency and social inclusion.

Originality – This chapter is the summary of several original research studies using primary survey data, encouraging public transport in China. This is the first research to show the great potential of non-motorized mode for controlling car use and improving urban mobility in China. It is also the first chapter to point out the integration of multi-modal transport systems with the corresponding built environment in China.

Purpose – In this chapter, issues involved in trying to reduce car use in urban areas are examined, drawing on experience in Britain, and the possible lessons for China are considered.

Methodology – The advantages and disadvantages of the car are considered to explain the growth in car use in Britain. The political difficulties of reducing urban car use are discussed. A variety of methods of reducing car use by changing travel behaviour are described, including charging for the use of the road, fuel pricing, control of car parking and alternative methods of accessing the car such as car clubs and car sharing. The evidence on the effectiveness of measures to reduce car use is examined. The potential for reducing car use in China is then considered.

Findings – Most of the initiatives for reducing car use in Britain have focused on reducing congestion rather than actually reducing car use. The largest initiative to do this has been the London Congestion Charging scheme; this was successful, unlike proposals for some other cities, for a variety of reasons. However, while there have been many initiatives in Britain, there is little systematic evidence of their effectiveness.

Practical implications – The chapter discusses some of the political difficulties involved in trying to reduce car use and then illustrates these, particularly for congestion charging using the example of London.

Value of the chapter – The main value of this chapter is to illustrate the range of possible approaches to reducing car use, drawing upon evidence from various cities showing some of the ways of overcoming the barriers to implementation.

Purpose – Electric vehicles are very topical in developed countries. The breakthrough of new battery technologies and changing conditions driven by climate policy and growing fossil fuel prices has caused all major car manufacturing countries in the developed world to initiate R&D programmes to gain competitive advantage and to foster market diffusion of electric vehicles (EVs). This chapter looks at developments in China and compares them with observations from developed countries to draw conclusions about differences in their future paths of development.

Methodology – This chapter escribes the potentials and R&D approaches for different types of EVs in developing countries, using China as example, in comparison with developed countries. It looks at innovation strategies, policy framework and potential diffusion of EVs.

Findings – Market diffusion strategies in developed countries and China may differ, since, in the former manufacturers try to implement a premium strategy (i.e. offer high-price sophisticated EVs), while in the latter market, diffusion will probably appear at the lower end of vehicle types, i.e. via electric scooters and small urban vehicles. It is concluded that the market introduction strategies of EVs in developing countries and developed countries could converge because signs of downsizing of vehicles can be observed in the developed world, while upscaling from bikes and electric scooters can be expected for China, so that large-scale market introduction could occur via small city cars.

Implications for China – Instead of following the Western motorisation path, an option for China could be to develop a new one-stop-shop mobility concept integrating small EVs into such a concept.

Purpose – This chapter discusses the planning and construction of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Xiamen, analyses the existing problems and puts forward proposals about the development of BRT, in order to provide a basis for similar systems in other cities.

Methodology – The focus of the analysis is strategies for construction, including using BRT to guide urban development, building an integrated transport system, and making allowances for future upgrade of the system to light rail. In addition, the operating effectiveness of BRT is discussed.

Findings – (1) At the initial stage of rapid urban expansion, BRT can be used to encourage transit-oriented development (TOD) in the expansion of urban space. (2) The construction of an integrated transport system and the strategies of providing for later upgrade of the system to light rail improves the service quality of public transport provides for rapid growth in the passenger flows, which not only meets the current passenger requirements, but also satisfies the needs for long-term urban development.

Practical and social implications – (1) The elevated BRT has a significant influence on the urban landscape and environment, but the operating organization is inflexible. (2) The low price of the tickets has resulted in a serious operating loss.

Purpose – The chapter studies methods of integrating the connection between land use and traffic surrounding rail transit stations. It offers guidance to urban planners about how to arrange transfer facilities scientifically and promote more efficient use of land nearby.

Methodology – The chapter describes studies of station type, station positioning, recommended building floor area ratio (FAR), traffic connection and land use functional demand for five stations on No. 2 Metro Line in Nanjing, determining the traffic connections and layout for the land use surrounding the five stations.

Findings – This study of the integrated connection between land use and transport surrounding rail transit stations will act as a guide to help arrange the building of essential transfer facilities scientifically and help cities to make better use of the scarce amount of urban land available for development. This study also shows that the transport system plays an important part in adjusting the functional layout of land use surrounding rail transit stations.

Social implications – The results of this study will be particularly significant in the integration of urban planning management and transport management. Furthermore, the coordinated interaction between land-use planning, traffic planning and urban design will benefit Chinese cities as they continue to grow throughout the 21st century and beyond.

Purpose – The aim of the chapter is to explore the link between logistics and territory, particularly at local scale with ‘freight villages’. This topic is a matter for transport economics and management as well as for urban and regional planning.

Methodology – The methodology of this research relies on the exploitation of existing limited literature and on a practical field experience, using contact with professionals as well as with local authorities, comparing logistics regional planning in China and France. The process of conception, building and operation of logistics premises and areas is analysed, identifying the private and public actors who take part to it, and the rationales guiding their actions.

Results and perspectives – The necessity to insert logistics into its spatial environment obeys evolving concerns: in an initial phase, the aim is mere quantitative growth of production, trade and freight; today, logistics facilities must contribute to the search for sustainable development. The exchange of experience and of best practices, linked with academic observation, feeds the continuation of research on this seldom-addressed topic.

Purpose – In this chapter, the potential of Milk Run logistics, a method for consolidating freight, is analysed. Milk Run logistics provides a host of possibilities for consolidating freight transport activities and thus using transport capacity efficiently. It utilizes one vehicle to conduct several pick-ups/deliveries in a round trip, which means that the pick-up/delivery points should be located in a limited area which can be covered in a one-day trip.

Findings – Milk Run logistics seems highly beneficial in congested urban environments in developed and developing countries although it may also work in other areas. Furthermore, it can be linked to long-distance logistics, by rail for example, in the national and world-wide network of large companies.

Application – Examples for three automotive companies are given: Toyota with its logistic concept for the Bangkok region, Webasto, a supplier of hardtops and other car parts, and Audi, a daughter company of Volkswagen. All of them have introduced green logistics concepts including Milk Runs, which help to reduce CO2, waste material and – last but not least – costs.

Implications – The chapter concludes with indicating the high potential of Milk Run logistics to China and its rapidly developing automotive industry.

Purpose – This chapter reviews the provision for freight transport in Shanghai, and makes recommendations for the development of road freight including the aspects of optimizing the port transportation system, strengthening the planning and construction of freight terminals, promoting the formation of a city distribution system, adjusting downtown traffic policies, and promoting the provision of road freight information systems.

Methodology – Based on primary data and observation, this chapter describes the status of road freight in Shanghai and details existing problems. Based on experience elsewhere it then proposes changes in policy.

Findings – This chapter proposes some recommendations as follows: optimizing the collection and distribution system of the Shanghai port, planning, and construction of road freight terminals, adjusting the freight traffic policy in the central area and improving the performance of freight firms.

Implications – These recommendations, based on good practice elsewhere, should both enhance the efficiency of road freight in Shanghai and reduce its environmental impacts.

Value of chapter – The study will help the sound and orderly development of Shanghai's road freight transportation, better satisfy the needs of the people, and promote the development of Shanghai economy.

By 2050 there will be 6.9 billion people living in urban areas, accounting for 70% of the global population. The most developed nations will have urbanisation rates as high as 90%. Not only will more people be living in cities, but the largest cities will be getting larger. In their analysis in Chapter 2, Kii and Doi estimate that there may be as many as 17 megacities, with more than 10 million inhabitants, in China by 2050. Even so, the bulk of urban population growth is likely to be in smaller cities.

JingWei BIAN is Director of Urban Construction Environment and Resources Committee of Xiamen Municipal People's Congress. He graduated from Tongji University with doctor's degree in urban planning and design. He is Professorate Senior Urban Planner and National Registered Urban Planner. He is a part-time Professor at Xiamen University, Huaqiao University and Jimei University. He has served as President of Xiamen Urban Planning and Design Institute and Deputy Director of Xiamen Planning Bureau. His main research interests are the urban planning theory and design, urban traffic planning, urban and rural planning management and regulations. He has published 4 books and over 50 papers on these topics.

Cover of Sustainable Transport for Chinese Cities
Publication date
Book series
Transport and Sustainability
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN