Guangzhou’s Bus Rapid Transit system is featured in “Design with the Other 90%: Cities,” the second in a series of themed exhibitions by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum that demonstrate how design can address the world’s most critical issues, opens Oct. 15 at the United Nations and runs through Jan. 9, 2012.
The exhibition will include over 60 projects from 22 countries around the globe, including a 3D model of the Guangzhou BRT.
Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and, like all Chinese cities, has seen an explosion in automobile ownership over the past decade. This, combined with a fragmented management of the bus system, lead to terrible gridlock and safety issues on Zhongshan Avenue, a major street through the Central Business District.
ITDP and our local partner, GMEDRI, began work on a conceptual plan for BRT on Zhongshan Avenue in 2005. The city’s first BRT line opened in 2010 with 22.5km of segregated bus lanes, 26 stations, and 40 routes which enter and leave the BRT corridor. All of the stations include bike parking, most include bike share, and three have direct transfers to the City’s metro system.
Guangzhou built a greenway alongside the BRT corridor to foster intermodal connections between bike and bus.
Today the Guangzhou BRT services nearly 1 million riders per day and was built at a cost 10 times less expensive than the metro. The system has resulted in 30% higher bus speeds and reduced congestion along the corridor, in part because the creation of a BRT allowed the city to consolidate bus routes more efficiently and reduce the total number of vehicles on the road.
The BRT has helped eliminate 50,000 tons of CO2 emission in its first year due to fewer bus-kilometers driven, improved traffic speed and flow and travelers choosing the BRT over cars or taxis.
The Guangzhou BRT will be displayed as part of the “Access” section of the six-part exhibition, next to other design solutions to improve access to water, sanitation, food security, electricity, health, transportation and education.
The museum’s main building, the Carnegie Mansion, will be undergoing renovations, so the show will be exhibited at the United Nations Visitors Center.
The United Nations’ Visitors Centre is located on First Avenue at 46th Street and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways to Grand Central Terminal and the M15, M27, M42 or M104 buses. Admission to the exhibition at the United Nations is free of charge. The United Nations is fully accessible.