Smoother Transport in the Capital
2017 saw Beijing’s expedient and essential measures to reduce traffic congestion. Improvements to the traffic system make life as a modern Beijinger better in more ways than one.
Nowhere is the old adage “change is constant” more true than in Beijing. Each day brings change to the capital, like improvements to the traffic system and new roadways and subway lines that continue to improve life as a modern Beijinger.
In 2017, Beijing’s transport sector took expedient and essential measures to reduce traffic congestion. Critical to ramping up the capital’s transportation planning, construction, management,
and limiting measures has been the proactive implementation of its annual traffic congestion reduction plan. In store for its planning are efforts to encourage some population relocation , removing sectors unrelated to capital functions, and optimising work-life balance and commuting distances. Construction has likewise seen a boost in implementation for such traffic infrastructure construction as raillines, roads, hubs, bus transit lanes, bicycle lanes, and park-and-ride facilities. To meet the needs of these new facilities, Beijing has explored the potential of its traffic facilities, improving traffic order, and enhancing its enforcement of traffic law to deliver comprehensive upgrades to its traffic management and services. Comprehensive limiting measures to reduce vehicle usage, facilitate and improve intercity travel and speed up the shaping of a safe, efficient, green, and economical comprehensive traffic system to instil a real “sense of gain” with Beijing residents round out the capital’s plans.
Last year saw a comprehensive undertaking of plans to reduce traffic congestion, leading to the construction of side roads and Beijing achieving higher-than- expected reductions in congestion for 2017. An increasing trend in traffic infrastructure investment manifested itself alongside positive effects from the in- depth reform of the transport sector. Operation of the traffic system operations in Central Beijing gradually continued to improve with the maturing of sustainable transportation development. Green travel represented 72 percent of all travel, and the average traffic performance index was controlled at 5.6—unchanged from 2016. As with the prior year, in 2017 Beijing’s traffic system remained at the level of mild traffic congestion.
Accelerating Traffic Infrastructure
The traffic system is the backbone for the coordinated development of the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei region. In 2017, breakthroughs were made in traffic integration within Beijing-tianjin-hebei, bolstering deeper economic integration in the region. Construction of six major expressways made steady progress, reaching a total length of 157.7 kilometres (km), including the Xinglongkou– Yanqing, Beijing–qinhuangdao, Capital Region Ring, Yanqing–chongli and New Airport expressways, while construction of the north section of the New Airport Expressway is under way.
In addition to its new expressways, the public transit card systems in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei have been integrated for cards to operate across the region. Beijing also piloted a programme integrating passenger services across Beijing-tianjin-hebei, its network-based ticketing system currently covering 100 passenger stations at the secondary level or above. Operational mechanisms of traffic integration have made substantial progress, with the three areas jointly signing the Legislative Agreement of Coordinated Operational Measures on Beijing-tianjin-hebei Roadways and the Cooperative Measures on Administrative Enforcement of Transportation Laws in Beijing-tianjin-hebei.
In 2017, per its high standards, Beijing planned and developed the transport system of its urban sub-centre. Currently, the Songliang Road renovation project has been completed and put into service, Yunhe East Street (East 6th Ring Road to Songliang Road) has been made eligible for operation and the east extension of Guangqu Road ( Yile West Road to East 6th Ring Road) has been brought into the implementation phase as scheduled in the sub-centre control project. In addition, Tongzhou District completed 12 road projects and pushed ahead with seven others as planned. To improve the road network in the vicinity of Universal Studios in Tongzhou, flyovers for the East 6th Ring Road at Universal Studios and between Beijing–harbin Expressway and Jiude Road are now under construction. After the projects are completed, the upgrades to road infrastructure of Beijing’s urban sub-centre will look promising.
Improving the commute between Central Beijing and Beijing’s urban sub-centres are an array of public transportation projects. On December 31, 2017, the urban sub-centre line of the suburban railway system was put into operation, enabling passengers to ride 48 minutes from the starting point to the terminal. Meanwhile, projects like the Guangqu Road bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Dongxiaoying’s public transport hub and the traffic hub at Dongxiayuan are proceeding as planned.
Helping shape a high- speed transport network covering the urban sub- centre are four rail lines including Beijing subway Line 1 ( Batong Line), Line 6, Line 7 and the urban subcentre line of the suburban railway system along with Chaoyang North Road, Chaoyang Road, Jingtong Expressway, Guangqu Expressway and the Beijing– Harbin Expressway. Traffic
environments along the Tongzhou– Yanjiao Expressway and Jingtong Expressway have been improved, and congestion has been relieved at 23 choke points including exits at Huoxian, Xiaoshengmiao and Furong Road. Urban sub- centre congestion effectively eased via optimising, renovating and upgrading existing roads and traffic facilities.
Alleviating Traffic Congestion in Central Beijing
In 2017, six urban districts of Beijing kicked off the construction of 92 side roads, compared to 90 in 2016, to curb traffic congestion and improve the road network in Central Beijing.
The year saw a total of 115 projects implemented to eliminate traffic choke points and regulate areas with chaotic traffic. This included renovating the Fenzhongsi Bridge ramp at Southeast 3rd Ring Road, widening the Huoxian Toll Station along the Beijing–harbin Expressway and building an underground pedestrian path at Dawang Bridge. Since 2003, Beijing has completed more than 2,200 traffic improvement projects at the municipal and district levels, including improving traffic facilities of intersections, redefining entrances and exits of certain trunk roads, building bus bays and offline bus stops, renovating pedestrian crossing facilities, establishing tidal flows, delimiting bus lanes, upgrading road equipment and cleaning up roadway barriers and obstacles.
In the meantime, comprehensive governance of traffic systems for 12 regions in Beijing’s six urban districts has been completed to positive traffic outcomes alongside the deepening of comprehensive parking governance. Surveying and analysing its parking resources, Beijing confirmed the total number of parking spaces at 3.82 million (including 2.19 million in residential neighbourhoods) in 331 sub-districts, townships and towns within its 16 districts by the end of 2016. Based on the analysis of its statistics, Beijing’s areas have been classified into five categories for the upgrade of parking facilities according to their respective parking ratios. In addition, Beijing is piloting an electronic fee collection system for roadside parking lots based on the roadside parking monitoring and management platform independently developed by the city. The platform features dynamic monitoring, service supervision, information services, statistics analysis, and inspection and is capable of monitoring and managing roadside parking at the municipal and district levels. So far the system has been applied to 4,086 parking spaces along 37 roads in Beijing’s six urban districts and Tongzhou District and is planned to cover all roadside parking spaces in Beijing by the end of 2019.
The city has also been working to promote parking legislation. Based on its assessment of the effects of the three- year implementation of Beijing Administrative Measures on Parking, Beijing has proactively upgraded administrative measures to local law to meet new demands executing the rule of law. To further define the rights and responsibilities of the government, enterprises, and society and its citizens, a public parking governance system is being established with a focus on classification, proper utilisation, appropriate management and social governance, and the increase of parking spaces. Beijing is striving to legislate on parking. Currently, the draft of Beijing’s Regulations on Parking has been reviewed three times by the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People’s Congress.
In 2017, Beijing actively explored new models of investment, construction and management for plots of public parking. On July 31, 2017, a large public parking facility began trial operation in the underground parking lot in Wukesong. This facility was the first funded by the Beijing Municipal Government but managed by a company. On November 5 of the same year, Beijing Static Traffic Investment and Operation Company, Ltd. was established to integrate static traffic resources in Beijing by building an investment and operation platform. The company will also be playing a leading role in the investment, development and operation of Beijing’s static traffic resources and address problems in static traffic by integrating capital, information and the market itself.
Enhancing Capacity of Public Transport
The Ministry of Transport of China has included Beijing in the first group of model cities for development of the public transport system. The capital will use public transport as an important solution to solve urban headaches and reduce traffic congestion. Through its continuous deepening of supply-side structural reform, the city will strive to promote public transit capacity to meet the travel demands of its citizens.
Further improved in 2017 was Beijing’s on-road public transportation network. To expand its public transportation network and raise transit efficiency, the city continued to build trunk roads and optimise bus routes in Central Beijing. In 2017, it reconfigured 41 bus routes and opened 16 short bus routes to cover new communities, emerging industrial parks, and subway stations. A total of 309 custom bus, shuttle and tourist bus routes have been put into service, including 140 rapid transit bus routes serving over 20,000 passengers daily. The capital has been hard at work diversifying its bus service to meet specific demands of passengers.
In its endeavours to bring about more services, Beijing has also been developing its rail transit system. With the Yanfang Line, maglev Line S1 and Xijiao Line put into trial operation on December 30, 2017, there were 22 rail transit lines in Beijing. With a total length of 608 kilometres, its rail lines connect 370 stations, of which 56 are transfer stations. Platform doors have been put into operation on stations along subway Line 1 and Line 2 to promote safety for the two oldest lines in Beijing. To provide more convenient “Internet Plus” services, the capital has realised online ticketing, allowing passengers to pass through gates with the swipe of a smartphone. Rail transit usually sees more than 10 million passengers per day thanks to the convenience it provides.
Bicycle and pedestrian systems have also seen an upgrade. In 2017, Beijing continued to improve its low-speed travel system and upgrade green travel conditions. The capital renovated 635 km of bicycle lanes, maintained 260,000 square metres (sq.m) of pedestrian pathway, built 121 wheelchair ramps, widened and unblocked 59 pedestrian paths, removed 63 obstacles, installed 5,482 bollards and paved 68,000 sq.m of colourful non-motor vehicle lanes. The city has further designed a plan for a bicycle lane from Ruanjianyuan, Shangdi to Huilongguan. Following their renovation, the bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths saw noticeable safety and comfort upgrades. According to statistics, the pedestrian and non-motor vehicle traffic volumes increased by 4.42 percent and 51.85 percent respectively, indicating that more people have been opting to walk or cycle around Beijing.
Creating Greener Traffic
2017 also saw the capital striving to secure sound development in its bicyclesharing system and allow the system to lower carbon emissions, facilitating shortdistance travel and reducing the usage of motor vehicles. To that end, Beijing issued the regulations: Beijing’s Guidelines for Encouraging Sound Development of Bicycle-sharing System ( Tentative), Technical and Service Specifications for the Bicycle-sharing System and Technical Guides for Delimitation of Parking Lots of Shared Bicycles. These will regulate the bicycle-sharing market in regards to disorderly parking, lack of oversight for deposits and the sabotage of bicycles. These measures will support and guide the sound development of the bicyclesharing market in Beijing.
New policies were also issued to regulate and improve car-hailing services by simplifying the administrative procedures and facilitating applications of car-hailing platforms, drivers and customers for licenses. Currently, Beijing has eight car-hailing operators, including Shou Qi Car-hailing. The car-hailing system continues to grow, and will provide safer, more convenient and comfortable services for passengers together with traditional taxi service.
Beijing is further bolstering its hightech industry through the regulation and encouragement of testing driverless cars on public roads. The capital has also been taking measures to support
the development of automated driving, leading to new breakthroughs in urban traffic management and services. In late 2017, Beijing issued two documents to guide and regulate the testing of driverless cars on public roads. Its efforts to steadily promote the testing of driverless cars on public roads are to secure future traffic safety.
The tightening of administrative systems within the capital is further reducing traffic congestion. Through various measures, Beijing has simplified pre- event review and approval of traffic infrastructure, using big data to improve traffic monitoring and troubleshooting of choke points. These measures have been effective in expediting the implementation of traffic projects. A list of responsibilities for traffic congestion reduction was issued, while its municipal and district governments have made the Statement on Responsibilities for Reducing Traffic Congestion to define the district government’s responsibilities for reducing traffic congestion. The Beijing municipal government has additionally established a supervision team for traffic congestion reduction and made a supervision information system to coordinate at the municipal and district levels to fulfil its goals for reducing traffic congestion.
The year has also seen intensified studies of comprehensive policies in Beijing, creating a blueprint for traffic development. The capital first analysed causes for traffic congestion, and identified 201 causes in six categories across four levels. To address those causes, a countermeasure database for reducing traffic congestion was established, summarising over 600 traffic measures in terms of treating traffic issues arising from traffic supply, raising traffic capacity and improving the efficient use rate of traffic facilities. Beijing then took to formulating its Whitepaper of the Comprehensive Plan for Beijing’s Traffic Development to establish a comprehensive plan for resolving traffic congestion and shaping an effective traffic governance system for the megacity by analysing traffic problems and disclosing solutions. Finally, a comprehensive traffic roadmap was specified in detail to develop a safe traffic system for Beijing. The capital is continuing to work toward a comprehensive, modern traffic system which covers 10 subsystems, such as regional transportation, public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, road facilities and their operation, parking facilities and their management, traffic management, smart transport, green transport, and safe transport. The system will be implemented in phases according to Beijing’s five- year plan.
Fulfilling the Capital’s Orientation by Improving Transport
2018 is the first year to implement the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress. Beijing’s transport sector will adhere to its people-centred development ideas, deem traffic development as its mission, help fulfil Beijing’s strategic orientation toward the four national centres, develop transit based on reform and innovation under the rule of law and undergo the focused implementation of the Beijing Urban Master Plan (2016–2035) under the leadership of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and People’s Government of Beijing Municipality. The sector will also highlight the limitations of its traffic capacity, deepen coordinated development between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, intensify parking management, improve the green travel environment, implement and share accurate, law-based governance, drive development through reform and innovation and advocate law-abiding, ethical behaviours. Additionally, by taking scientific, economic, legal and requisite administrative measures, this sector will further boost coordinated city and transport development, maximise the “sense of gain” within the populace and continue to make progress reducing traffic congestion.
Traffic capacity will be adopted as a limitation to urban development to
necessitate improving the interconnectivity between the traffic system and population size, urban spatial layout, work-life balance and development intensity, creating an imperative to advance the coordinated development between transportation and the city itself. At the same time, Beijing is pursuing higher traffic governance and development goals to build a safe, convenient, green and economical comprehensive modern traffic system and better serve Beijing’s strategic orientation toward the four national centres. Furthermore, after deeply understanding influences of the rail transit network and the rapid development of the sharing economy on traffic operation, Beijing is optimising its methods of travel by continuing to develop its rail transit and encouraging new traffic services such as bicycle-sharing, car-hailing and automated driving. Naturally, priority will still be given to reducing traffic congestion by highlighting the district’s role in reducing traffic congestion to help solve problems of a large city. To that end, Beijing will set new goals, take new measures, produce new outcomes and share new experiences of its transport system annually.
According to relevant authorities, Beijing has a set of traffic goals for 2018. These include guaranteeing smooth operation of road transport, controlling the number of motor vehicles in service at 6.1 million maximum, with a traffic performance index of about 5.7. Rail transit will continue development, extending the total in-service length of rail to at least 632 km. Nine hundred km of bicycle lanes will be improved, ensuring the availability of the low-speed travel system, with an aim to raise the proportion of green travel to 73 percent. Management of orderly road traffic will be intensified, regulating parking within the 2nd Ring Road and raising driver, passenger, and pedestrian awareness for observing laws and regulation, road safety and civilised behaviour.
As we move into 2018, Beijing will reduce seven aspects of traffic congestion. It will first strive to develop the road network and upgrade side roads and alleys within Central Beijing. Second, new traffic projects will be carried out to eliminate traffic choke points, which will require the pinpointing of all choke points under the requirements of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and the Beijing municipal government, implementing such projects as soon as possible. Third, the capital will be putting further focus on construction of urban high speed road networks, including the west extension of Chang’an Avenue, east extension of Guangqu Road and Huagong Road, and the planning of the west extension of Xiwai Avenue, Lize Road and other highway networks. Fourth, Beijing will be taking more measures to govern parking, one such necessity being a plan to mark the parking, temporary parking and no-parking areas within the city. Urgent demands include delimiting and marking parking spaces within the 2nd Ring Road, cracking down on on illegal parking, and issuing regulations on the parking of motor vehicles to coordinate the supply of parking areas. Fifth, green travel will continue to be a priority. Beijing will continue to focus on the development of its rail transit system, building dense, efficient rail transit networks. It will also support the development of bicycle lanes and guarantee pedestrian rights through the installation of bollards. Further measures to regulate the operation and parking of shared bicycles are also coming. Sixth, smart transport will take on a greater role in reducing traffic congestion, with continual upgrades for information systems such as public transit, bicycle and parking systems to provide more options for travel within the city. Finally, Beijing will continue promoting the development of its interactive platforms for reducing traffic congestion to solicit the opinions of the public. An assortment of activities will be held to provide residents with opportunities to advise on and participate in traffic governance.
Looking toward the future, Beijing’s transport sector will dedicate itself to practising its governance of the traffic system, and making new contributions to Beijing’s development.
Paying a parking fee via smartphone
Short-distance bus routes opened to expand to new areas
Charging stations are installed to facilitate use of electric vehicles.
Scanning a QR code to use a public car
Xi’erqi Station, subway Line 13
S1, the first low and medium speed maglev subway line in Beijing, was put into trial operation at the end of 2017.