WASHINGTON, DC March 22, 2012 - Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of US$100 million to the People’s Republic of China to help improve urban transport for the 540,000 residents in Changzhi City of Shanxi Province.
With economic growth, urbanization and higher incomes, the number of private cars has been increasing rapidly in China. In the past 20 years, cities have invested substantially in urban road networks to meet the need of the rapidly growing motor vehicle traffic. However, growth in motor vehicle traffic has outpaced the growth in urban road capacity, leading to increasingly severe traffic congestion and other problems such as road accidents, air pollution, greenhouse gas emission, and fuel consumption. Changzhi City, like many other Chinese cities, is faced with this challenge.
The Changzhi Sustainable Urban Transport Project is designed to assist Changzhi Municipal Government to address this challenge by developing a people-oriented urban transport system with priority given to public transport, non-motorized transport and pedestrians. Its objective is to improve transport mobility in the central city of Changzhi in a safe, efficient and energy-saving manner for all users.
The project will support integrated corridor improvement, build and improve bus lanes, bays and stops, pedestrian walks, overpasses and mid-block crossings, and provide additional parking and cycling facilities. To improve traffic management, the project will provide assistance to the development of area traffic control system, traffic enforcement and monitoring, traffic information system, and junction channelization at selected signalized junctions.
The project will include a special component for improving public transport services through development of public transport infrastructure including a bus transfer hub and two bus depots and upgrading of the existing bus dispatching center and associated information management system.
Upon completion of the project, the residents in Changzhi City as well as visitors from elsewhere will benefit from faster travel times, improved level of public transit services, safer road conditions, and improved convenience and accessibility for non-motorized transport users.
Changzhi is one of the pilot cities under the Urban Transport Partnership Program funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Under this program, Changzhi has received a GEF grant to conduct a study on “Strategic Planning for Sustainable Development of Urban Transportation in Changzhi City,” which has laid a strategic planning foundation for this project.
“Through program and project support, we hope to work with China to help achieve a paradigm shift in its urban transport policies and investments toward the promotion of public and non-motorized transport, modes that are less energy intensive and polluting than those fostered by current urban land use planning and transport systems in China”, said World Bank’s Lead infrastructure Specialist and project task manager Zhi Liu.
The project is estimated to cost US$200 million, with 50 percent of the financing from Changzhi Municipal Government, and 50 percent from the World Bank loan.