Tag Archives: transportation

Beijing to fully implement zero-emission buses in 2017

At the end of 2013, Beijing launched its first dual-mode trolleybus line, an executive action in the Beijing Clean Air Action Plan (2013-2017). Within the five-year time-frame, this Plan aims to fulfill the promise that there will only be zero-emission buses in the Beijing city center within the Beijing 5 Ring Road. The total number of electric vehicles is expected to reach 47001


Source of image: You gai dian gongjiao che beijing shanglu, http://society.people.com.cn/n/2013/1220/c1008-23894059.html, access on 14, January 2014.

In fact, since 2001, there have been 15 traditional trolleybus lines in Beijing; the traditional system depends only on electricity wire. If there is a malfunction in the grid, buses would have to stop in the middle of roads, causing traffic congestion. The new dual-mode trolleybus system is different from the old traditional one in that the buses are equipped with a battery; the electricity grid connected to the buses will continue to run them, and at the same time charge the battery. Therefore, if an error occurs in the electricity supply, the dual-mode trolley buses can be “off-line” and still be able to function2. This will increase the mobility of the buses, which will no longer be shut down easily from grid problems.


  1. You gai dian gongjiao che beijing shanglu, http://society.people.com.cn/n/2013/1220/c1008-23894059.html, accessed on 14 January 2014. []
  2. Beijing jiang piliang zhihuan shuang yuan diandong gongjiao che bi chun diandong che pianyi 20 duo wan, http://big5.ce.cn/gate/big5/wap.ce.cn/cy/201312/13/t20131213_1915572.html, accessed on 14 January 2014. []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Striving towards ecocity: experience from Huainan

Xie, Pengfei (2013) Striving towards ecocity: experience from Huainan, China. Sustainable cities collective (28 October, 2013). Retrieved from http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/nature-cities/190911/striving-towards-ecocity-experience-huainan-china, 22 november 2013.

China’s rapid urbanization in the last 30 years has brought about many problems. The country is now facing a huge challenge to balance economic development with environmental conservation and social stability. Sustainable development is in the spotlight: how can we build a better city that can provide a better life for its citizens?

The ecocity seems to be one of the solutions. Since the concept of “Eco-Civilization” was advocated by China’s central government in 2007, local governments have responded actively to the appeal. By 2011, 90% of Chinese cities at the prefecture-level and above had proposed ambitious goals to build eco-cities (XIE and ZHOU, 2010). However, in China and throughout the world, the ecocity is still in its preliminary stage, without a mature theoretical basis and systematic exemplary practices. Local governments in China are encouraged to learn by exploring sustainable development models through ecocity construction.

Different people hold different opinions on the concept of an ecocity. By now, there has been no globally recognized definition for an ecocity. In China, a representative definition is: an Ecocity is a composite human settlement system combining balanced socio-economic development with healthy ecological objectives to achieve the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Barcelona launched public electric scooter service

2013年5月,西班牙巴塞罗那推出公共电动车Motit,该服务是由西班牙专门代理电动车的Going Green公司提供。现阶段,该公司仅在巴塞罗那市区提供50辆电动车供人租用,预计在2013年底之前增加至300辆。


  • 租用者的资格 : 年满21岁以上,需具备驾照
  • 计费方式 : 一小时5欧元或每公里40分欧元
  • 电动车最高速度: 65km/h
  • 最高限速: 40至60公里
  • 巴塞罗那租用点总数: 7个
  • 电动车Motit的配备: GPS系统、安全帽、电池



参考网站: http://www.asso-scooter.org/Motit-Barcelone-scooters-en-libre

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Kunming – a strategic “bridgehead city” facing Southwest Asia

Kunming occupies a strategic position. It is the Chinese city which is nearest to several ASEAN countries (479 km from Vietnam, 789 km from Laos, and 858 km from Myanmar). Because of this geographical advantage, the Chinese government has put a great deal of effort into the construction of transportation networks connecting Kunming with its foreign neighbours.Kunming111

In 2011, the construction of the Trans-Asian Railway (with Kunming as a starting point) was officially begun. This is the first high-speed railway connecting China and Southeast Asia. Its four routes include the eastern line (from Kunming to Singapore), the mid-eastern line (from Nanning to Vientiane), the middle line (from Dali to Bangkok), and the western line (from Kunming to Yangon). This network also links up with railway lines in Burma and India. The terminal stations on these lines (Ho Chi Minh and Singapore on the eastern line, Bangkok on the middle line, and Yangon on the western line) are all international ports.  The economic impact of the railway will also boost the economy of the Indo-West Pacific area, and as a result, Kunming’s economic importance in Southeast Asia will increase.1.

In addition to the railway, all the highways in Yunnan connecting with South-East Asia start from Kunming. The Kunming-Bangkok Expressway, built jointly by the governments of Laos, Thailand and China, was open to traffic in 2012.2. The China-Vietnam highway (from Kunming to Hanoi) is expected to open in 2013. Other highways (from Kunming to Kyaukpyu, Myanmar and from Kunming to Ledo, India) are also in the planning stages.3

In 2010, with the launch of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, China’s average tariff for ASEAN countries dropped significantly from 9.8% to 0.1%, and the commercial relationship between China and the ASEAN countries became closer. Because of the important position of Kunming, the Chinese government sees Kunming as a strategic “bridgehead city” facing Southwest Asia.


  1. Fan ya tielu zhi yi dongnanya zoulang 泛亚铁路之一「东南亚走廊」http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/daniel-ni/article?mid=729, last accessed 29 April 2013 []
  2. Kunming zhi mangu gonglu yixian quanmian guantong 昆明至曼谷公路一线全面贯通, Retrieved from http://www.moc.gov.cn/xinxilb/xxlb_fabu/fbpd_yunnan/201212/t20121214_1338955.html, last accessed 29 April 2013 []
  3. Zhongyue gaoss gonglu yuji 2013 nian guantong 中越高速公路预计2013年贯通, http://www.gxjtsjy.com/news.asp?ky=78&mid=80&id=358, , last accessed 29 April 2013. []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Chinese cities adopt car-unfriendly rules

On August 2012, the municipal government of Guangzhou decided to restrict car registrations by means of a license plate lottery in order to reduce traffic jams and improve air quality. Although China has become the world’s largest car market, private cars no longer seem to be welcome in Chinese cities. By banishing cars from their centres, Chinese cities are following a global trend. Car-less cities may, in fact, be the key to sustainable urban development.

Guangzhou is not the first city in China to implement a license plate lottery. Other Chinese cities have endorsed similar policies: Beijing has held car license lotteries since 2011, followed by Guiyang, a second tier city, which has implemented the same kind of policy. Xian, a large inland city, is considering following suit.  Shanghai was the first city to experience restrictive policies concerning vehicles, including license plate auctions, as early as 1994. Because of increasing traffic jams and poor air quality, more and more Chinese cities are trying to control the car market. Guangzhou’s decision was widely reported by newspapers, as the decision may affect China’s car industry. As KeithBradsher pointed out in his article published on September 4th in the New York Times, Guangzhou provides a good illustration of the transformation Chinese cities are undergoing.  The home city to major car manufacturers (Bradsher rightfully compares Guangzhou to Detroit), this Chinese municipality has risked harming its own industry in order to improve its environment. This decision shows that Chinese cities have reached the next level of urbanisation; they are showing concern for the quality of life of their inhabitants, and as a consequence, they are transforming their transportation systems.

Since the late 70’s and the Open Door policy, a middle-class has emerged in China, which has gradually given up bicycles and switched to motorcycles, then private cars.  City planners took account of this evolution in the construction of new infrastructures, responding to the increasing number of private car users. Because of urban sprawl and the development of car ownership, new ring roads and freeways have been built around major Chinese cities. In less than twenty years, the suburbs of cities like Shanghai or Beijing have adopted the US car-urbanism model.   Furthermore, car ownership has become a social status for urban dwellers, as illustrated by the success of German top-end car makers in China.

Autolib, Paris’ car sharing system

However, if we look at the most global cities worldwide, we notice that most of them are not car-friendly, and car ownership is not the rule. For example, in car-loving America, the majority of New Yorkers do not own a car. Similarly, not all urban dwellers in Tokyo or London have a car.  There may be several reasons for this. Firstly, thanks to efficient transit systems, using the subway or light rail line is more convenient, cheaper and less time consuming than driving a car. Because of high real estate prices in these cities, car parks are few and parking spaces are expensive to buy or rent. Thirdly, foreign cities across the globe have a long experience of the issues that Chinese cities are now facing, namely traffic congestion and air pollution, and they have already implemented restrictive car policies.  In Asia, in 1975, Singapore was the first city to impose a congestion charge,in addition to high import taxes on cars. In Europe, cities like London and Stockholm have a congestion charge zone to reduce the number of cars in their city centres.  By implementing car lotteries, Chinese cities are simply following this trend… and thus becoming global.As a result, we need to rethink relations between cars and city dwellers. The model of individual car ownership may be confronted by other kinds of ownership.  More and more cities have launched car-sharing systems such as GoCar in Ireland, or Autolib in Paris. As urban drivers do not necessarily need cars on a daily basis, but do need them when driving out of the city for week-ends or vacations, new car renting services will undoubtedly be offered to Chinese urban drivers. With massive investments in cheap and convenient mass transportation systems, the need for private car ownership will decrease. But this does not mean that private cars will disappear from Chinese roads, as most drivers will not be city dwellers, but commuters from distant suburbs,not reached by public transportation, and people living in small and medium-size  cities, where no other options are offered.

However, to achieve the goal of making Chinese cities less congested, restrictive measures for cars should not make car-ownership a “prize” that one can win at lottery. Cars should not be attached to the notion of social status either.  In an era of hyper-consumerism, one of the key factors for Chinese cities’ sustainability will be to make car ownership unattractive, and thus undesirable.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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