The FINANCIAL — Traffic congestion and vehicle emissions are expected to ease in the rapidly urbanizing city of Yichang with the start up of a new bus rapid transit system (BRT) on July 15.
The nearly 24 kilometers-long BRT, which is partly funded by a $150 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), connects the provincial bus terminal at one end, to a high-speed railway station at the other, along the main arterial route of the city. In between, the buses will pass through the main residential and business districts, as well as a logistics and industrial park. There are 37 stations along the route, according to ADB.
“In most medium-sized, and in many large cities such as Yichang, BRT is the best, most cost-effective, and most flexible option for public transport,” said Ki-Joon Kim, an ADB Senior Transport Specialist. “The project represents a new concept for small and medium-sized cities that links urban development to the expansion of public transport, and it provides a model of sustainable transport development that can be replicated in the PRC and across Asia.”
Yichang is the second largest city in the central province of Hubei, with a population of 4.1 million. Rapid growth in car ownership and limited land availability, has resulted in limited mobility and accessibility, road accidents, and air quality problems stemming from vehicle emissions.
The new system will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 5,332 tons in 2018, rising to 8,288 in 2030, which is equivalent to 2,204 and 3,426 tons of coal burned. Passenger numbers at stations along the route are expected to reach around 283,000 per day in 2018, increasing to 412,000 in 2030.
The Yichang BRT system follows the success of a BRT system launched in 2013 in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, providing convenient and sustainable mobility to the newly developed district in the city.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.