Back to the Good Old Days: China Cham­pi­ons Non-mo­tor­ized Trans­porta­tion

China Cham­pi­ons Non-mo­tor­ized Trans­porta­tion

China Today (English) - - CONTENTS - By staff reporter GONG HAN

In the 1970s and 1980s China was in­deed the undis­puted “King­dom of bi­cy­cles.” Now the coun­try, be­set with traf­fic jams and air pol­lu­tion, is pop­u­lar­iz­ing a re­turn to the good old car-free days.

TRAF­FIC jams, air pol­lu­tion and the need to con­serve en­ergy have mo­ti­vated the Chi­nese govern­ment to pro­mote non­mo­tor­ized trans­porta­tion, namely bi­cy­cling and walk­ing.

Non-mo­tor­iza­tion is the ut­most goal of green trans­porta­tion. It is also a mode var­i­ous coun­tries have ex­plored in en­deav­ors to build eco-cities. The Chi­nese govern­ment has also been work­ing to achieve this end over the past sev­eral years. In 2013 the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban- Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment is­sued the Guide­line on Pro­mot­ing Con­struc­tion of Ur­ban Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Sys­tems. Also in the pipe­line is a Guide to City Plan­ning and Trans­porta­tion De­sign in cities at var­i­ous lev­els. Sug­ges­tions raised in the 13th Five-Year Plan also main­tain that, “low­car­bon trans­porta­tion will be pro­moted, pub­lic trans­porta­tion will be pri­or­i­tized, rail tran­sit will be en­hanced, and green trans­porta­tion such as bi­cy­cles will be en­cour­aged.”

Cy­cling and walk­ing were for­merly the norm in China. In the 1970s and 1980s the Mid­dle King­dom was in­deed the undis­puted “King­dom of Bi­cy­cles.” But start­ing from the year 2000, the num­ber of cars spiked. Pop­u­lar­iz­ing a re­turn to the good old car-free days, there­fore, will be no easy task.

Peo­ple-ori­ented Tran­si­tion

By the end of 2014, the num­ber of auto ve­hi­cles in China had hit 264 mil­lion, 154 mil­lion of them cars. Es­ti­mates show that if the growth rate of cars in China were to slow by two to three per­cent­age points an­nu­ally, oil con­sump­tion would drop 5.8 mil­lion tons and car­bon emis­sions would be re­duced by 17.80 mil­lion tons per year.

Deputy Direc­tor of the In­sti­tute of Trans­porta­tion En­gi­neer­ing at Ts­inghua Univer­sity Dr. Yang Xin­miao,

A thou­sand brand-new bikes for rent are neatly placed in 34 ser­vice sta­tions in Zheng­dong New District CBD of Zhengzhou, He­nan Prov­ince.

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