January 07, 2016

2016 STA Finalist: Yichang, China

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Yichang, China’s new sustainable urban corridor proves that with strong vision and planning, swift, dramatic change is possible. With 1.5 million residents, Yichang is a mid-sized, yet influential city in central China. In one year, the city has opened a 20km, Gold-Standard bus rapid transit corridor, launched a new public bike system, and implemented strong parking reform and pedestrian improvements. These changes are already delivering results, with residents reporting faster trips, more options, and an increased sense of safety.

The Yichang BRT is China’s second Gold Standard system, demonstrating how mid-sized cities can use high quality public transit to improve mobility. Stretching 20 kilometers along one of the city’s busiest roads, the system serves over 240,000 riders a day and connects office parks, residential areas, and shopping centers. The system features a dedicated right of way, off board fare collection, preferential treatment at intersections, and level boarding. Demonstrating strong climate and congestion benefits, preliminary results show that 20% of BRT riders previously drove a car or took a taxi. The BRT lanes forms the core of a sustainable urban corridor, anchoring benefits throughout the city.

Yichang bikersAlong the corridor, new protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements are making the city safer and more comfortable for active transport users. 30 kilometers of new protected bike lanes, primarily along the BRT corridor, make intermodal transfers easy. In addition, the launch of a new public bike share, with 645 bikes and 27 stations, is providing more opportunities for residents to start cycling. Along the BRT corridor, 27 intersections have been redesigned with pedestrian safety improvements, and 40 kms of sidewalks have been widen and improved to remove obstacles for those on foot.

Rounding out the city’s comprehensive approach to improving transport, Yichang has removed 500 parking spaces along the BRT corridor, assuring increased safety and accessibility in bike lanes and walkways. An additional 500 spaces have seen increased regulation and management.

Yichang’s experience of implementing rapid, impactful infrastructure to reduce congestion and pollution serves as model for cities throughout China and the region. Thanks to a new, Gold Standard BRT, the launch of a large-scale bike share system, complemented by new bike lanes, as well as pedestrian safety and comfort improvements, Yichang has become a true transit success story.

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Since 2005, the STA has been given annually to a city that has implemented innovative and sustainable transportation projects in the past year. These strategies must improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, as well as improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

The 2016 finalists will be honored at a reception at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 12, 2015, during the Transport Research Board annual conference in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend the STA ceremony, click here to RSVP.

Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include: Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, Brazil (2015); Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014) Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Medellin, Colombia and San Francisco, United States (2012); Guangzhou, China (2011); Ahmedabad, India (2010); New York City, USA (2009); London, UK (2008); Paris, France (2008); Guayaquil, Ecuador (2007); Seoul, South Korea (2006), and Bogotá, Colombia (2005).

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