Guangzhou’s bus rapid transit system wins city international transport award

Streetfilms, in partnership with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), produced a new video highlighting Guangzhou’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The BRT system won the city the 2011 International Sustainable Transportation Award from ITDP, and currently serves 800,000 passengers each day.

The system is by far the largest BRT system in Asia, but comes in behind Bogota’s Transmilenio system which serves 1.2 million riders daily. The similarities are striking though. Both Guangzhou and Bogota include robust stations and heavily dedicate right-of-way. The systems are also being built in combination with other forms of transport instead of lieu of them.

“You must also think about multi modal integration,” says Xiaomei Duan, Chief Engineer, Guangzhou BRT Project. “For example, on this corridor we have three metro stations integrated with our BRT station, and around the BRT stations we have our bike stations.”

Guangzhou is the second largest city in the world with approximately 25 million people, and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The implementation of the new BRT system was done, in part, to cut carbon emissions, reclaim space for people and reduce traffic congestion.

The Guangzhou BRT system opened in February 2010 and was designed to now be completely integrated with the city’s new bike share network and metro system.

  • I love the foliage dripping pedestrian overpasses.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    These BRT systems are creating hideous streetscapes.

  • “Guangzhou is the second largest city in the world…”

    Technically incorrect. You know better than that Randy… 😛

  • @Zachary Schunn: No, it’s correct. When I compare populations I look at metro regions (not city boundaries). Cincinnati is 2.2 million. To say that it is less than 300,000 is silly.

    In this case, Guangzhou has approximatly 24.9 million people. This places it only behind Tokyo’s 34.2 million.

  • I was mainly teasing; some quick research led me to understand what you meant. Though it is interesting; depending upon the source I found the urban agglomeration totaling anywhere from 8.9m (ranking it 28th in the world) to 24.2m (2nd in the world). Depends on exactly how you define it.

    And I’m actually a little surprised you take that view. I think of it in terms of boundaries (so yes, Cincinnati’s population to me is slightly less than 300,000). Granted, colloquially I’ve found people tend of think of it as anywhere inside the 275 loop, which would obviously make it higher.

    The MSA serves its purposes, but personally I don’t think the 2.2m number means much. There are plenty of people in Butler County that do not work in Cincinnati, do not pay taxes here, and rarely so ever enter the corp. limit. So I’ll politely disagree with you in that regard.

  • I agree with you about people in Butler County (for example). But the reality is that cities work in a regional sense. Those bedroom communities and job centers in Butler, Warren or Clermont counties do not exist without Cincinnati. It’s the same in any metropolitan region. With no Cincinnati there is no CVG. With no CVG there is no corporate business presence. With no corporate business presence there are no support industries (law, IT, etc) that provide jobs in these areas.

    City boundaries are often arbitrary and defined by things that have nothing to do with population distribution, economics, or sociological behaviors.

  • Very true. I suppose it depends upon how directly or indirectly you wish to count a city’s impact. You could of course also continue the indirect impact up larger scales until you’ve considered the entire world as one economy ala Thomas Friedman.

  • Tim B

    Be careful about sweeping generalizations about Butler County. Hamilton and Middletown were founded as cities of their own quite independent from Cincinnati and just about as old. West Chester, a place of 60,000 residents, is closer to your bedroom community idea. But even West Chester has large numbers of employers who are only partially connected to Cincinnati. Also, Dayton is it’s own city and parts of Butler County are more connected to Dayton than Cincy. So Cincinnati while certainly vital isn’t the be-all-end-all center of the universe. There is a region to consider not just a downtown.

  • @Tim B: I am very familiar with Butler County as I worked as an urban planner with the City of Hamilton in 2007. Hamilton’s contemporary growth is driven from suburban sprawl southward from Dayton, and northward from Cincinnati. Middletown is struggling mightily, but its growth is also coming in this same form along I-75.

    My point is not to say that these areas aren’t important, because they are. They provide housing and communities for hundreds of thousands of people to live to work. But their existence is largely based upon the health of the core of the region. Without this core you have no professional sports teams, no world-class arts, no international airport, and very little economic power. The areas would still exist, just not in their same form.

    Blue Ash, Mason, Montgomery, West Chester, Anderson, Green, Delhi, Liberty, Union (KY), Florence, etc. They all thrive today because of the health of the core. These places need the core, and the core needs them. That’s how regionalism works.

  • Joe

    @Randy: Take population numbers of Chinese cities with a grain of salt because they often contain substantial agricultural hinterland areas which are sparsely populated and cannot be considered urban or even suburban. For example the Beijing is over 6,000 square miles in area and has a population of 22 million.

  • Joe

    @Randy: The following link goes into more detail about the Chinese administrative division of urban areas. Using this definition the city of Guangzhou would be about 10 million people but even this definition of the city limits includes some of the rural hinterland and a population density of around 1200 people per square kilometer.