China: Investing in Key Transport Infrastructure for Sustainable Urban Development

April 9, 2014


Through the Fuzhou Nantai Island Peri-Urban Development Project, the World Bank assisted Fuzhou in building infrastructure and putting in place policies to achieve sustainable urban development. Watch the slideshow.

With support from the World Bank, from 2007 to 2013, Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian Province on China’s southeast coast, carried out strategic transport infrastructure investments and institutional development activities to support its rapid expansion to peri-urban areas. Travel times were reduced by 32 percent on strategic corridors, while public transport coverage was increased in the total number of routes (115 percent) and in route-km (178 percent).


Like many cities in China, Fuzhou’s population was growing rapidly (projected to increase from 1.58 million in 2002 to over 2.4 million in 2020), and required new areas for housing, work and recreation. Nantai Island, located in the city’s periphery, was designated as the main area for expansion. Specifically, the plan was to increase the island’s urbanized area from 12 km2 (8.5 percent) in 1999 to 121 km2 (85 percent) in 2020, accommodating a population growth from 344,000 to 800,000 residents in that period. Carefully planned and implemented investments in infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, would be essential to making Fuzhou’s vision viable. 


The Fuzhou Nantai Island Peri-Urban Development Project was designed to support sustainable urban development in Fuzhou as it expanded to Nantai Island, by providing strategic transport infrastructure and by strengthening Fuzhou Municipal Government’s decision support system on land development and management. The project combined investments in developing a well-balanced, hierarchical road network in Nantai Island (Nanjiangbin Road, the southern section of the Third Ring Road, and Kuiqi Bridge) with the construction of a new public transport hub (Jinshan Bus Terminal and Depot), and additional efforts to provide on-street priority to public transport services. In addition, institutional strengthening and technical assistance would be provided in the form of policy studies and staff training to improve the city’s capacities for integrated transport and land use planning, land management, and public transport regulation.


  • With improved transport infrastructure, urban development in Nantai Island is well underway, exceeding original projections. From 2005 to 2013, its population almost doubled from 480,000 to 786,900 habitants. In the same period, the annual size of its secondary industry increased from RMB 209.3 billion to RMB 559.7 billion.
  • Nanjiangbin Road, Kuiqi Bridge, and the Third Ring Road opened to traffic in April 2010, December 2011 and January 2012 respectively, improving access to new areas for residential and industrial development. On average, travel times between Nantai Island and central Fuzhou were reduced by 32 percent.
  • Jinshan Bus Terminal and Depot will be operational by June 2014; a total of eight bus priority corridors have been established (following the pilot demonstration carried out through the project); and strategic institutional reforms in the public transport sector have been adopted. Public transport coverage was increased in the total number of routes (115 percent) and in route-km (178 percent).
  • Fuzhou’s master plan was improved, adopting an integrated conception of transport and land use functions, and strengthening its strategic zoning and environmental protection features.
  • Additional results included the establishment of the Regional Wetlands Protection Plan, the successful preservation of the administration building of Fanchuanpu Cathedral, the improvement of living conditions for roughly 10,000 slum dwellers, and the establishment of a new resettlement policy.

Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) provided a loan of US$100 million to partially finance the investments, as well as institutional strengthening and technical assistance activities.   


The project was prepared and implemented based on a close partnership between the Fuzhou Municipal Government and the World Bank. Both, the local leadership and the implementing agencies involved demonstrated an openness to incorporate the innovations proposed by the Bank, a strong commitment to fulfilling the established goals, and an ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges throughout implementation.

Moving Forward

The project helped lay down the basis for the sustainable development of Fuzhou and its expansion to Nantai Island. Best practices were established through the project and are now being replicated by the local government on its own, with the guidance of the updated city master plan and strategic policy reforms in the public transport sector, environmental law and resettlement practices.

178 percent
Travel times were reduced by 32 percent on strategic corridors, while public transport coverage was increased in the total number of routes (115 percent) and in route-km (178 percent).

Project Map