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Co-authored with Sandra Retzer. Over the past decades, the People’s Republic of China not only underwent rapid urbanization and an impressive socio-economic transformation but also a tremendous de­velopment of its transport infrastructure. Today China has the longest high-speed railway network and has just brought its 350 km/h Fuxing (复兴 – renaissance) bullet train back on line, connecting Beijing and Shanghai (1,300km) with just four and a half hours of travel time. The same impressive de­velopment counts equally for the expansion of China`s high­way, aviation, shipping and public urban transport system. However, along with progress came challenges. Today, the transport sector is also associated with traffic congestion and clogged cities, this accounts for the high shares of carbon emissions and is a significant source of noise and (urban) air pollution with up to 30 percent shares of particulate matters in some of the big cities. The Chinese government is aware of…

The Chinese State Council released a Work Plan for Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emission during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2016-2020) last month. This plan is designed to ensure the completion of the low-carbon development tasks identified in the 13th national five-year plan and to achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making the best efforts to peak early. The key objectives by 2020 are to lower carbon dioxide emission per GDP unit by 18% of 2015 emission level. By 2020, carbon dioxide emission per turnover unit of commercial truck, coach, and ship will be respectively reduced by 8%, 2.6%, and 7% in comparison to 2015 levels. The carbon dioxide emission of urban passenger transport per unit volume will be reduced by 12.5% compared to 2015. The key measures to be taken to achieve those goals are: 1. Lower carbon emission in the transport industry and save energy…

As a consequence of rapid urbanisation and motorisation over the last decades, most of China’s major cities are facing an unprecedented growth in private car ownership. This development poses a challenge to the city authorities and planners, as it tremendously impacts on traffic congestion, air quality, road safety, urban space consumption and parking demand in Chinese megacities and metropolitan areas. To address these problems, cities are carrying out several different urban transport policies such as car ownership restrictions and driving bans for private vehicles. Nevertheless, most cities underestimate the positive effect of a well-managed on-street parking system within the cityscapes. GIZ China’s Sustainable Transport Programme had the opportunity to interview Dr. Paul Barter – a renowned researcher, policy advisor and trainer at Reinventing Transport and adjunct professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Dr. Barter has over 20 years of research experience in urban…

Monetary purchasing subsidies, super credits, tax exemptions and local incentives for industry and consumers: China is sparing no efforts in its drive towards market expansion for e-mobility. The motives of China’s industrial policy are straightforward, yet environmental protection as a driver is not equally unambiguous. Prevalent coal-fired electricity production is sparking doubts whether an electrification of motorised individual mobility has a positive impact on the climate. A Sino-German cooperation project addresses these issues by assessing the environmental impact of electric vehicles in China. As an important economic driver in China, the automotive sector is a significant provider of employment and shapes technological innovation. It has significantly contributed to China’s unprecedented economic growth over the past decades. Conversely, daunting climate and environmental concerns have cast a shadow on this development. Air pollution, noise, accidents, congestion – the list of very tangible, negative external effects of transport is long. Less perceptible, but…

The “10th China Urban Development and Planning Conference” was held on 22nd and 23rd of July 2015 supported by Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development (MoHURD) and jointly organised by Chinese Society for Urban Studies and Municipal government of Guangzhou. More than 1000 participants discussed topics of urban planning and sustainable development, new-type urbanization, low-carbon & eco-city and city development transformation. As part of the conference GIZ and the Chinese Society for Urban Studies jointly organised a session on Green Urban Transport. GIZ project manager Sun Shengyang presented examples from Europe regarding the role of transport in sustainable urbanisation. Other experts from AURP, City of Stockholm and China Sustainable Transport Research Center shared experiences on transit-oriented development, congestion charging, non-motorized transport and sustainable urban transport strategies. For more information about Sustainable Urban Transport in China please click here. Contact: shengyang.sun@giz.de Presentations can be downloaded below: “Challenges and Answers: The…

Individual motorised transport in Beijing has increased strongly over the last years. In order to identify appropriate measures to minimise air pollution, congestion and global emissions, the Transport Demand Management Project developed a model to quantify transport related emissions. China’s economic growth over the last three decades has had numerous positive effects, but it has also led to a tremendous increase of individual motorised transport. In Beijing, the stock of 5 million cars increases air pollution, congestion, parking problems as well as the number of accidents. The strong growth of individual motorised transport and its negative effects, including rising GHG emissions, have become a growing challenge for Beijing and other large cities in China. In order to assess the emissions impact in Beijing, GIZ, its partners at the Beijing Transportation Research Center (BTRC), and the Swiss INFRAS Institute developed an emission modelling database and model to quantify GHG emissions from…

Last week the Chinese government altered the subsidy scheme for new energy vehicles (NEVs). Linked to the second phase of the national EV development programme, the aim of the scheme is to drive the domestic NEV market and to increase the share of environmentally friendly cars on Chinese roads. In 2013 the Chinese government renewed the policy for NEVs granting subsidies ranging from up to 35,000 yuan for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and up to 60,000 yuan for fully electric-powered vehicles. New-energy buses and coaches are subsidized with up to 500,000 yuan per vehicle. Originally, the government had anticipated to lower NEV subsidies by 10% in 2014 and 20% in 2015. However, this plan has now been adjusted and subsidies will only be lowered by 5% in 2014 and 10% in 2015. Furthermore, the NEV subsidy policy is not anticipated to cease at the end of 2015 as originally planned…

Urban density is one of the most discussed concepts in the history of urban design and city planning. It is the first out of ten principles for sustainable urban transport, which are summarised in our new PREZI based on the approach of “avoid-shift-improve”. During the 19th century urban density was synonymous with narrow, unhygienic housing and living conditions. In the 1930s modernists accused it of promoting social and political unrest. Today, the term urbanity connotes to civic ideals such as smooth and literate and socially capable. From the sixties onwards these ideals became more dominant in public discussion. In 1989 an influential study by Newman and Kenworthy compared 32 cities across the world. The main finding that denser cities have lower car use than sprawling cities is largely accepted by planners today. Planning dense, walkable cities became a new paradigm in city planning: Short distances encourage social inclusion and promote…

Chinas rapidly changing structures and society challenge its sustainable urban development. Considering this, the study tour on low carbon urban development had a special focus on experiences on post-industrialisation processes and the structural reform in Germany. During two weeks in October, it provided an in-depth understanding of the German approaches towards climate protection strategies at city level and the national framework for low carbon urban development in Germany. The study tour was organised by GIZ on behalf of Energy Foundation for the National Academy of the Mayors of China, co-financed by Stiftung Mercator and carried out under Component 2 Low Carbon Development in the Transport Sector of the Sino-German Climate Change Programme. The study tour started in Germany’s largest city and capital Berlin, which has changed noticeably due to the German reunification in 1990. Urban development and transition processes were examined further in North-Rhine Westphalia, centred on the polycentric Rhine-Ruhr…

Friday, 29th November 2013 GIZ organised an international exchange workshop between Beijing’s Transport Authorities and international experts on an intended white paper “Opportunities and Challenges for Beijing Transport Development”. The new white paper, issued by Beijing Municipal Committee of Transport (BMCT) is planned to cover the new challenges emerging from the continuous growth of Beijing and the consequently increasing travel demand. During the meeting BTRC gave a presentation about the main challenges addressed in the white paper. The first topic addressed was the road usage rate. Zhou Ling of BTRCs Strategy Department emphasised that Beijing has not only a higher vehicle ownership in its central areas than most other cities worldwide, but also twice as much car kilometres travelled than for example Tokyo. Most striking, 44% of the trips are below 5 kilometres and could therefore be easily replaced by cycling or public transport. That could also relief the cities…