January 10, 2014

Top Chinese Leaders Receive Recommendations on Green Urban Transport

Promoting Green Urban Transport Photo_ Karl Fjellstrom

Hazardous levels of air pollution, severe traffic congestion, and urbanization are daily topics of conversation across China, boosting interest in a new report to which ITDP contributed. Top China government officials, including the Premier Li Keqiang and the State Council, were pleased to receive the findings of a 9-month joint European Commission-Government of China study on Green Urban Transport. ITDP Managing Director for Policy and Founder, Michael Replogle joined a small team of experts to produce the report, which contains recommendations for improving financing and planning of public and non-motorized transport and traffic management.

Sponsored by the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), the study recommends that the Chinese central government enhance local capacity to finance public transport and redirect a portion of central government taxes. Specifically, the report suggests using motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, which are currently used for intercity road construction, towards financing green urban transport, bolstering planning regulations to ensure cost-effective transport investments, and inter-agency coordination. It draws attention to international best practices that can be adapted to the Chinese context, including better parking management and pricing, road user charging, and transport system performance monitoring, reporting, and public engagement. It highlights the importance of giving priority to walking, cycling, public transport, demand management, and transit-oriented development mobility planning and investment.

This report has fostered high level new cooperation between the Chinese Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and drawn favorable attention from the National Development and Reconstruction Commission. Urbanization, air pollution management, and green mobility have emerged as major themes driving Chinese public policy policy discussions. This new report lays a valuable framework for follow-up cooperation between the Chinese government and its international partners, including ITDP.

The report was presented in a series of high level meetings in Beijing in mid-November 2013 by European Commission Vice President Sim Kallas, European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, and Prof. Zhou Wei, President of the Research Institute of Highways of the China Ministry of Transport, and leaders of the study team.

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