New BRT system, public spaces, parking reform, cycling and pedestrian improvements win Yichang the award. Moscow, Russia and Rosario, Argentina receive honorable mention.
Yichang, a mid-sized Chinese city located along the Yangtze River, the site of the Three Gorges Dam, is looking to the future with a focus on cycling, pedestrian space, and high-quality mass transport, putting it well on its way to becoming a leader in the region on sustainable transport and development.
In 2015, Yichang launched China’s third high quality BRT to open in the last five years, after Guangzhou in 2010 and Lanzhou in 2013. Stretching 20 kilometers along one of the city’s busiest roads, the system serves over 240,000 riders a day on 362 buses, 200 of which are new BRT buses with doors on both sides. 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 percent 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 also implemented groundbreaking parking reform, with half of the parking spaces along the BRT corridor eliminated and the remainder subject to improved management. The city also improved conditions for bicycles and pedestrians, with 30 kilometers of bike lanes (part of a planned 220 kilometer network), and 700 trees planted along with 29 new safe pedestrian crossings and a bike share system set to open in the next month.
Clayton Lane, CEO of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, presented Chuanqiang Mao, vice mayor of Yichang with the award at a ceremony at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Tuesday evening on behalf of the Sustainable Transport Award Committee. The program featured a keynote address from Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Executive Director of STA partner TransitCenter.
“The economic, environmental, and social challenges for cities are greater now than ever before,” said Shin-pei Tsay. “While it is certainly easier to continue on paths forged in the auto-dependent past, the most successful cities are the ones which reorient themselves not for cars, but for people. The Sustainable Transport Award highlights just how critical and transformative the right leadership at the right time can be for a city’s long-term success.”
Moscow received honorable mention for their expansion of cycle lanes, addition of a bike share program, improved parking management, and improved bus services. Rosario made significant investments in cycling infrastructure, extended dedicated bus lanes, and improved the accessibility and integration of transit across the city.
Established in 2005, the Sustainable Transport Award 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. Finalists are selected by an international committee of development experts and organizations working on sustainable transportation.
The Sustainable Transport Award finalists and winner are chosen by a Committee that includes the most respected experts and organizations working internationally on sustainable transportation. The 2016 Committee represents:
- Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
- The World Bank
- WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
- GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
- Clean Air Asia
- Clean Air Institute
- ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award are: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte, 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).