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WSP helps to green the world’s most polluted city

WSP Greater China has carried out many transportation planning projects in China and one recent project was to provide green transport solutions to the world’s most polluted city, Linfen.



Linfen was rated by Time Magazine as the most polluted city in the world in 2008. (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1661031_1661028_1661016,00.html)

The WSP team quickly established the base line conditions involving a blanket of surveys across a city of nearly a million people. 2% of households were interviewed in one day mobilising hundreds of surveyors in a short time. This provided an insight into travel behavior and begged the question, how could a city where 80% of trips are by walking and cycling become so polluted?

A raft of additional surveys was carried out. In particular, the public transport system was surveyed to understand the bus performance and how improvements could be made to better serve a city with less than 10% car ownership. Stakeholder interviews took place with all levels of government including the Mayor, key decision makers and local citizens.

WSP then developed a holistic approach to improve the city transportation and vitality including:

  • Identification of bus corridors for integrated improvement measures including bus priority, traffic management, slow mode design and safety, on street car parking management, intelligent transport and junction design
  • City wide slow mode design and planned improvements
  • Public transport interchange and hub planning
  • Intelligent bus dispatching and scheduling
  • Clean energy buses
  • Transit Oriented Development (TOD) guidance and integrated land use planning
  • Bus fare optimization and real time information
  • Transport Demand Management (TDM) feasibility study
  • Road network planning and safety measures
  • City capacity building of stakeholder staff

In the May of 2012, the project was successfully accepted by both local experts and the international funding agency.

Craig Wright, Director of WSP Greater China’s Transport Team, stated:  ‘WSP Greater China transport team has developed strong green transport planning capabilities and is recognized by clients including the international funding agencies as producing high quality outputs, applying international best practice within the Chinese context.’

Other relevant similar projects carried out by WSP in China include:

  • Low Carbon transport Solutions for Shanghai (Project Identification),
  • Low Carbon Transport Master plan for Changzhi
  • Integrated Corridor Improvements in Changzhi (Feasibility Study) and
  • Integrated Corridor Improvements in Xining (Feasibility Study).

Don Pan, Managing Director of WSP Greater China, commented: ‘The transport team continues to win high profile transportation projects in China against fierce international and local competition, which demonstrates the reputation we have developed in the last 5-6 years.’

More Details

It was reported that ‘Shanxi is the heart of China's coal belt and the hills around Linfen are dotted with mines, legal and illegal, and the air is filled with burning coal.’ Especially in the winter time before the 2008 Olympic Games, the air was very polluted from burning coal. After 2008 Olympic Games, although some illegal mining factories were closed, the city was still polluted compared to other cities. More strategies and measures were needed to be planned to improve the air quality and the environment. The Linfen government was keen to dispel the tag of ‘most polluted city’ and sought help from China Urban Transport Development Strategy and Partnership Demonstration Projects (CUTPP)

CUTPP is an integrated program including urban transport policy development, capacity building and demonstration projects.  It is a collaborated effort between the Ministry of Finance, National Development and Reform Commission, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The demonstration cities’ projects involve nine provinces, autonomous regions and 20 cities nationwide. Linfen applied successfully as one of the demonstration cities. The purpose of this project is to shift the current practice in terms of urban transportation, land use policy and methods of investment, so as to achieve the sustainable urban development by prompting the use of public transportation, which uses less energy and generates less pollution.

WSP was commissioned for the project of ‘Urban Transport Planning and Capacity Building Project in Linfen city’ to develop a green transport strategy for Linfen in September 2010. The Linfen project lasted about 18 months according to the project program.

For the first 6 months transport related surveys were carried out, including Household surveys, Traffic counting, Roadside interviews, Journey time survey, Special generator survey and safety observations to understand better the existing conditions of Linfen transport. More than 11,000 citizens were interviewed in the Household survey to understand their daily transport choices and patterns, and the Household survey also collected the household information and person information for future transport modeling purposes. The traffic counting survey was conducted for a whole typical working day for 64 counting locations in Linfen urban area. The road site interview survey was conducted at 12 locations of key external roads. The total surveyors mobilized were about 3000 man-days.

The key components of the project include the following: 1) Developing Linfen Urban Transport MasterPlan; 2) Developing Linfen Public Transport Special Plan. And some additional studies include: Traffic control center plan, Transit oriented development study, Transport safety plan, Transport policy plan regarding bus fare, and bus corridor feasibility study.

The methodology adopted in the study by WSP satisfies both World Bank and China Transport Masterplan guidelines. WSP Asia transport team has abundant project experiences regarding urban transport masterplan to adopt advanced international transport planning techniques with local knowledge to meet the requirements from both World Bank and China Codes. Based on the sufficient surveys conducted, Linfen existing transport conditions were analysed thoroughly, and the integrated multi-modal transport model was created. With the guidance of Linfen urban masterplan, the land use plan and road network plan allow us to develop the future year multi-modal transport model, which is an important tool to test different plan scenarios and transport policies to see the impacts on urban transport. Transport masterplan and public transport plan were developed. In the plans, green transport modes were significantly emphasized including public transport, and slow mode transport, in order to achieve more green transport mode shares in the future for less emission and pollution. Also Transit oriented development was also studied to explore greater shares for green transport.



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