China is the largest car market in the world today. In large cities, the increases in private car ownership and usage are especially rapid, as they generally experience faster economic growth and enjoy higher household disposable incomes than smaller cities and rural areas. This also means many large cities in China experience severe traffic congestion, as well as air pollution and high carbon emissions.
The transport sector accounted for 55% of China’s oil consumption in 2015, almost double what it was in 1990. Transport-related carbon dioxide emissions were estimated at 900 million tons in China in 2016 and are expected to continue to increase as more cars hit the road.
In 2011, the Chinese Ministry of Transport launched a program to promote the development of public transit metropolises as a strategy to address traffic congestion. A public transit metropolis is a city with the public transport modal share exceeding 60% of all motorized commuters. The government seeks to improve the attractiveness of public transport in large cities through increased investment in infrastructure, expanded and improved services, enhanced roadway priority and favorable operational policies.
“The Chinese Government is committed to fighting climate change and reducing carbon emission as a fundamental national policy. As a large carbon emitter and energy consumer, the transport sector has to make its contribution,” said Liu Dong, an official of the Chinese Ministry of Transport.
“For this reason, we applied for the Global Environment Facility for the Large City Congestion and Carbon Reduction Project. By learning international experience and piloting and demonstrating in selected Chinese cities, we hope to find an urban transport development path that is resource-saving, environmental-friendly and suitable to China’s country context,” said Liu.
The project received a grant of US$18.18 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in March 2013. Implemented with the World Bank’s support, the project promotes a comprehensive approach and complements implementation of the public transport metropolises program by developing, piloting and demonstrating travel demand management (TDM) strategies and measures, transit-oriented development (TOD), intelligent transport systems (ITS), and advanced public transport systems (APTS).