The problem of traffic congestion in China explained by my colleague Runyu Zhang is a similar case to other cities in recently industrialized countries (Worldatlas, 2017), where the entry of more cars is collapsing the road infrastructure, causing unbearable traffic and generating higher contaminant emissions into the atmosphere.
This is another example of how unsustainable it is to continue with a model with priority for cars. Fortunately, more and more cities around the world are implementing strategies to reduce this “car-dependence” (Moss, 2015).
If you make more roads, you will have more traffic.
SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT IN ASIA: CASE STUDIES
I fully agree with Runyu that the integration of public transport systems is fundamental to achieving a more sustainable mobility. Below, I will briefly show some examples of Asian cities that have worked in recent years on this issue and today show important progress, which today are part of the global top in sustainable transport (McCarthy, 2017).
According with 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index, Hong Kong is the leader in this field (Arcadis, 2017). This city, with one of the highest urban density rates in the world, has one of the most efficient and innovative public transport systems with the greatest coverage among the cities analysed. According to this study, in Hong Kong about the 90% of daily trips are made by these modes, which is considered the highest rate in the world (McCarthy, 2017).
The capital of South Korea has one of the busiest metro systems in the world. However, the city authorities have understood that this is not enough to achieve an adequate mobility. Thus, they have proposed to achieve the best integration through a multimodal system, combining different transport methods such as BRT and traditional buses, in order to achieve the greatest coverage throughout the urban area (The World Bank, 2015).
With more efficient public transport and the corresponding reduction in car use, Seoul has begun demolishing old motorways to make more public spaces for pedestrians (Marshall, 2016).
This city-state is the third most outstanding Asian city in sustainable mobility. Singapore was one of the first cities in the world to implement the Electronic Road Charges (ERP), which establishes charges through urban tolls for cars entering the central area of the city. With this, the authorities of Singapore seek to reduce the demand for cars, while they use the profits of this measure to invest in improvements for the public transport (Menon and Guttikunda, 2010).
The Arcadis report also highlights the low mortality rate in traffic accidents and the use of technology to improve accessibility to modes of transport (The Business Times, 2017).
Sources of images:
- Image 1. http://www.helgilibrary.com/charts/what-are-the-most-congested-cities-in-the-world/
- Image 2. https://www.fayerwayer.com/2013/06/edward-snowden-dice-que-dejen-su-destino-en-manos-de-la-gente-de-hong-kong/
- Image 3. http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/11/1178/htm
- Image 4. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/lta-to-roll-out-next-generation-erp-system-from-2020-10-things-to-know-about-the
Arcadis (2017). Sustainable mobility: Asian and European Cities lead the way. (https://www.arcadis.com/en/global/news/latest-news/sustainable-mobilityasian-and-european-cities-lead-the-way/2145479/)
Marshall, C. (2016). Story of cities #50: the reclaimed stream bringing life to the heart of Seoul. In The Guardian. (https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/25/story-cities-reclaimed-stream-heart-seoul-cheonggyecheon)
McCarthy, N. (2017). The World’s Top Cities For Sustainable Public Transport. In Forbes. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/10/30/the-worlds-top-cities-for-sustainable-public-transport-infographic/#6b1b4cb23c1e)
Menon, G. and Guttikunda, S. (2010). Electronic Road Pricing: Experience & Lessons from Singapore. (http://www.environmentportal.in/files/ERP-Singapore-Lessons.pdf)
Moss, S. (2015). End of the car age: how cities are outgrowing the automobile. In The Guardian. (https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/28/end-of-the-car-age-how-cities-outgrew-the-automobile)
The Business Times (2017). Singapore ranks 8th on global sustainable transport survey. (http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/transport/singapore-ranks-8th-on-global-sustainable-transport-survey)
The World Bank (2015). Korea’s Leap Forward in Green Transport. (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/transport/brief/koreas-leap-forward-in-green-transport)
World Atlas. What is a newly industrialized country. (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-a-newly-industrialized-country.html)