WASHIGNTON, DC, December 21, 2015 – Residents in Tianjin Municipality and Urumqi City in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will benefit from faster, greener and safer urban transport with support of two loans approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
Urbanization and urban sprawl in China have been accompanied by changes in the overall travel patterns of urban residents. Cities have rapidly spread as a result of increased real estate costs, incentives for cities to convert rural land in peri-urban areas to urban land, and improved road infrastructure. This has been accompanied by rapid motorization with 25 percent annual growth in private cars, increase in distances travelled, and a steady decline in the percentage of biking and walking trips.
As motorization has led to more traffic congestion, air pollution and road accidents, the Government of China and many cities are shifting in their urban transport investments towards public transport, walking and biking.
“These two new projects will support the government’s objective to develop a green urban transport system to make cities more livable and people-friendly,” said Bert Hofman, World Bank Country Director for China, Korea and Mongolia. “It is also in line with the World Bank’s goal of promoting prosperity for the bottom 40 percent of the population who are the main users of public transport, walking and biking.”
Tianjin, with a population of 15.2 million, is one of the four municipalities directly under China’s central government, and a core growth area in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The Tianjin Urban Transport Improvement Project, financed with an IBRD loan of US$100 million, is designed to leverage the Tianjin metro system and provide a better environment for pedestrians and bike riders in core urban areas.
The project will create an integrated pedestrian and bike network in Heping and Nankai Districts, improve interconnection facilities at 111 metro stations, establish a pilot public bike-sharing system, and develop selected bus terminals.
“The systematic integration of public transport, walking and biking will benefit most citizens in Tianjin and enhance the urban vibrancy of its downtown, placing Tianjin at the forefront in the application of the newly approved United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030,” said Gerald Ollivier, Task Team Leader for the Project.
Urumqi, with a population of 3.5 million, is the capital city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a core region for the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Faced with increasing traffic congestion and road safety concerns in the urban core area, the Urumqi Municipal Government has prioritized the development of mass transit systems including metro and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
The Urumqi Urban Transport Project II, financed with an IBRD loan of US$140 million, will support the construction of three new BRT lines, development of the Urumqi Comprehensive Transport Information Management System, and construction of a public transport hub, terminals, and parking and maintenance facilities. The project will be co-financed with the China Development Bank.
“With this project, Urumqi will complete the BRT network, improve information sharing in urban transport, and enhance the quality and efficiency of public transport services,” said Binyam Reja, Task Team Leader for the Project.