As China is experiencing an unprecedented pace of urbanization, traffic congestions, air pollution and other associated problems have caused threat to cities' livability. In order to reduce carbon emissions and promote urban development, the Ministry of Transport launched the Transit Metropolis Demonstration Project in 2012, under which comprehensive measures would be taken in several batches of pilot cities to enhance public transit service quality and encourage the use of public transit.

By now the Transit Metropolis project has made remarkable progress. 14 cities have passed acceptance tests and were awarded the Demonstration Cities of National Transit Metropolis Development. The number of pilot cities has also grown from 37 to 87. Despite so, the public transit sector in China is still full of challenges such as impacts from the new mode of sharing travel and subways, and thus needs transformation.

WRI and China Transport Meeting

Aiming at creating a platform for the public transit sector to share experience, discuss problems and pursue cooperation, the World Resources Institute (USA) Beijing Office and China Transport News Co-hosted "My Transit, My City": 2019 Transit Metropolis Experience Sharing Meeting in Wuxi by the Taihu Lake in January 14th. The event attracted over 100 representatives from the public transit administration agencies and companies in 19 Chinese cities to share experience and latest outcomes on the Transit Metropolis Project and explore the future development of the public transit sector in China.

ZHUANG Changbo, deputy head of China Transport News, attached great importance to the meeting. He said, "As the public transit sector faces new situation and new requirements, the sector itself and all the other sectors need to pool wisdom, innovate thinking and promote transit metropolises, in order to modernize our urban transport governance system and governance capabilities, so as to enable the public transit sector to better serve the travel needs of the people."

CHEN Lin, deputy editor-in-chief of China Transport News, in his opening remarks recognized the contributions of WRI as an independent international think tank to the Transit Metropolis Demonstration Project. "As an independent research organization, WRI has partnered with many Chinese cities and carried out valuable work in areas of multi-mode transport, urban transit big data research, transport problem settlement and transport governance in major cities. It has made contributions to promoting sustainable urban and transport development."  

LIU Daizong, WRI China Director for Sustainable Cities and Transport, introduced WRI's engagement in the Transit Metropolis Project. He said, "WRI always believes that better public transit is essential for developing low-carbon transport in China. In 2014, WRI began involved in the national Transit Metropolis Project under the support of the Ministry of Transport. We have conducted in-depth cooperation with Suzhou, Kunming, Guiyang and Zhuzhou on the three-year Transit Metropolis project and provided them with policy recommendations and technical support."

Highlighting Special Urban Transit Development Experience

DONG Wenyu, Director for Comprehensive Transport of Suzhou Transport Bureau, gave a presentation titled "Suzhou-Style Transit Makes Our City Better". He elaborated on Suzhou's experience of creating the Suzhou-style transit brand based on local conditions, which helped the city won the award of Demonstration City of National Transit Metropolis. In the presentation, he shared insights on four aspects, namely, "promoting sustainable urban development", "creating a diversified system", "inherit and protect the 1,000-year old city" and "improving transit service quality". Since Suzhou and WRI began cooperation on the Transit Metropolis project in 2015, Suzhou has set up an advanced urban transit intelligent information management system with WRI's technical support. The system can collect real-time and comprehensive public transit passenger flow information based on IC card and GPS data, thus informing decision-making to optimize transit routes, network and operation.

Guiyang is another city deeply engaged with WRI on Transit Metropolis. WANG Guanwei, Deputy Director of the Operation Development of the Public Transport Group in Guiyang, shared experience of applying big data thinking and intelligent measures to promote public transit development in Guiyang. Through building "one set of system, one center and three platforms," Guiyang developed an intelligent transit system and upgraded public transit equipment, which effectively facilitated the transformation of local public transit companies and brought new travel experience for the citizens.

New Energy and Big Data Stimulates Public Transit Development

With the advancement of science and technology, green transport and intelligent travel have become the trend of transit metropolises, with new energy public transit operation and big data technology as the focal points.

YANG Chunguang, Director of the National Engineering Technology Research Center for Electric Bus Control and Safety, outlined the current status and prospects of new energy public transit in China from three aspects, namely, new energy public transit dissemination and application, market problems and safety concerns. He also proposed the intelligent connected bus solution based on BRT routes to address the pressing problems of public transit, including poor punctuality, congestion and overcrowding.

On big data technology, WANG Min, Deputy General Manager of the Public Transport Department of Alipay, inspired discussion on Internet upgrading in the public transport sector. Mobile payment, non-full data, big data calculation and real-time demonstration have driven the application and exploration of Internet technology on intelligent public transit, and have helped public transit companies optimize bus routes and scheduling and improve operational efficiency.