Han Zheng
describes how one of the world’s most populous cities is pursuing sustainable development in transport

It is in cities that people gather to achieve rapid and harmonious material and cultural development, the efficient and effective use of space and the intelligent use of natural resources. It is in cities that civilizations integrate and evolve. While addressing challenges and problems in the process of development, cities maintain their glamour and keep improving.

Transport, one of cities’ most important services, plays a vital role in economic and social development. As one environmental development while of China’s most dynamic cities, Shanghai maintaining rapid and stable economic has enjoyed a rapid, yet stable, era of economic development since 1992, with annual GDP growth maintained at over 10 per cent. Through years of strenuous efforts, it has also registered remarkable achievements in transport development. The 2010 World Expo, which injects new vigor and vitality into the economy, will present a good opportunity for Shanghai to improve its environmental quality and accelerate urban development, and will challenge sustainable development.

Since 1990, Shanghai has optimized plans have been made to achieve and its energy mix, relocated polluting industries, and focused on developing the tertiary sector, leading to less pollution from burning coal year after year. However, the number of vehicles on the sttreets has increased so significantly that the air pollution from exhausts has gone from bad to worse. Over the past decade and more, emissions of NOx have been rising annually: In 2000 they accounted for over 70 per cent of the total air pollution in Shanghai’s down town area.

Increasing demand for transport, driven by rapid development, has exerted great pressure on the passenger and cargo transport system and on road traffic. Shanghai has been faced with traffic congestion since the mid-1990s. As its socio-economic development continues, the total number of vehicles is forecast to reach two million by 2010 and even exceed three million by 2020. With 50-140 per cent more vehicles on the roads, Shangai’s metropolitan transport system will face even greater challenges.

Enviromental development
The Shanghai Metropolitan Transport Paper was drafted – with the involvement of all Shangahi government departments, and research institutions from home and abroad – to achieve coordinated social, economic and environmental development while maintaining rapid and stable economic growth. It laid down a strategy of developing a three-dimensional metropolitan transport system and defined a policy of prioritizing the development of public transport. The Shanghai government is committed to implementing the White Paper and has improved the city’s transport in a down-to-earth way by building facilities, improving demand management and reforming the mechanisms of government administration. Long-term plans have been made to achieve and boost harmonious development between transport and socio-economic advance.

Transport holds the key to a city and it is a perpetual task to achieve sustainable economic development. The Shanghai Government invited experts from home and abroad to carry out research on feasible measures to promote sustainable transport. In November 2003, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Shanghai Sustainable Transport Partnership with EMBARQ (the World Resource Institute Center for Transportation and Environment) and the Shell Foundation to mark the beginning of joint research on developing indicators of sustainable transport for the city. The first amendment to the White Paper was also organized by the Shanghai Municipal Government.

Several medium-term results have been achieved in building a complete system of indicators for comprehensively evaluating sustainable transport. Establishing such a system is expected to facilitate quantitative analysis and reasonable evaluation of Shanghai’s metropolitan transport, and to make our policies more practical, focused and conducive to coordinated socio-economic development. It will also play a positive role in conserving resources and protecting the environment in our beautiful city and on providing convenient, safe, comfortable and clean metropolitan transport for our citizens.

As a member of the Earth Family, Shanghai is committed to shouldering – with other cities – the responsibility of maintaining the beauty and harmony of the planet on which we depend

Han Zheng is Mayor of Shanghai.

PHOTOGRAPH: Ron Giling/Still Pictures

This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | Challenges and Opportunity | Bridging the Water Gap | Golden Gateway to Green Cities | The Spirit of “Mottai Nai” | Cities without Slums | People | Rapid Progress | At a glance: Greening Cities | Charging into the Future | Star profile: Tokiko Kato | The Female Factor | Unlocking People Energy | Think Local | High Achievements | Life at the Top | Books and products | Focus On Your World | Black Sea, Green City?

Complementary issues:
Issue on Transport and Communications 2001