Home>News Center>Bizchina

Loan lifts transport development
By Liu Weiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-13 08:46

The World Bank announced on Friday that it had approved a US$200 million loan to ease transport pressures in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province.

Edward Dotson, leader of the World Bank task team designing the project, said it "will promote the development of an integrated, efficient and sustainable transport system for the rapid, safe and convenient movement of people and goods in Wuhan."

The loan comes as many major cities in China face mounting transportation pressures.

Some, like Beijing and Shanghai, are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their transportation networks.

Wuhan is composed of seven districts and is one of China's biggest comprehensive transport hubs, as well as one of the biggest industrial, commercial and trade centres in Central China.

It is estimated that the city's population will increase from 3.9 million in 1998 to 4.5 million in 2020, with a similar increase in car ownership, causing a rapid raise in urban traffic congestion, air pollution and posing serious health threats to local people.

Combined with inadequate facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, this will result in major safety problems, increasing demand for new roads and improving the management of existing roads to achieve greater efficiency and guarantee greater mobility to all transport users.

Traffic jam has also become a growing headache for many other cities, such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Xi'an and Shanghai.

Calls have been increasing from both the public and experts for increased investment for transportation facilities and the establishment of a more efficient management system.

A number of cities, such as Shanghai, have listed easing transport pressures one of their major areas of policy research work for this year.

The Beijing municipal government also promised that investment in transportation facilities in 2004 would be see a year-on-year increase of 78 per cent.

Experts hope that Wuhan's World Bank loan project can provide some experiences for other cities to learn from.

Dotson also said that an innovative feature of the project is that it focuses on the development of a transport strategy for Wuhan until 2020, utilizing the skills of the city's young professionals and offering them vital practical experience.

He said that the project's legacy would be "more than just an improved transport system."

The Wuhan transport project has six components:

To improve road network development within the city and expand the bicycle and pedestrian networks;

To improve traffic management and road safety;

To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public transport;

To assist in road maintenance reform;

To improve the local environment;

To train, advise and consult with the municipal staff.

The bank hopes that by the completion of the project, all users will benefit from a better urban transport system.

The project is aiming to achieve: The reduction of travel time for motorized vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians; improvement in bus services; adoption of an effective motor vehicle emissions control strategy; creation of road networks; and better road maintenance.

The loan has a maturity of 20 years, including a five-year grace period, according to Dotson.

  Story Tools