Ever thought of how to increase public transport passenger volumes to achieve a greener mobility system in your city? SUMP can offer solutions. The Southern Chinese city of Foshan is currently working towards achieving its aim of a green transport modal share of 70% – including public transport, cycling and walking – and is applying the Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) methodology to identify potential strategies and measures for the city and the centrally located Chancheng District.
That is why key local decision makers from the city and district level came together in an online workshop on 27th June, 2022, to discuss the implementation of neighbourhood-level measures in a previously defined SUMP pilot area within Foshan’s Chancheng District.
SUMP Pilot Area
The previously defined pilot area, selected for showcasing the objectives and measures of the SUMP Foshan in a highly localised implementation, is a 287ha area of the Chancheng District in central Foshan (see Figure 2). At the centre of the area lies the Kuiqi Rd metro station, one of the most frequented stations along the Guangfo Metro Line connecting the provincial capital Guangzhou and Foshan. The area is characterised by a diversity of low and high density and functionally mixed urban fabrics.
There are various primary and secondary schools located in the pilot area, allowing for the exploration a children-friendly strategy in the measure development. Through on-site research, experts from the project implementation partner China Sustainable Transportation Center (CSTC) identified issues such as a lack of dedicated pick-up and drop-off zones at some local schools, missing cycling lanes and safety concerns resulting from mixed traffic, or a lack of public spaces in the vicinity of the schools.
Fourteen streets in the pilot area were identified as main corridors for cycling traffic, but inconsistencies in the cycling infrastructure – such as mixed bicycle and vehicle traffic at large intersections, and a lack or insufficient width of dedicated cycling lanes – were found to reduce the safety and quality of the active mobility environment.
Another challenge to green mobility revealed in the analysis of the area pertains to public transport connectivity and negatively affects the seamless access from the pilot area to other parts of the city as well as to the neighbouring city of Guangzhou via the Guangfo Metro Line. The bus network coverage in the pilot area leaves some neighbourhoods without direct public transport access to the highly frequented Kuiqi Rd metro station.
SUMP Pilot Area Measures
These challenges are directly addressed with several specific measures suggested by the SUMP for Foshan and divided into three key areas. In addition to the city-wide measures developed as part of the SUMP for Foshan, these measures were drafted by experts from CSTC following the examination of local challenges, needs, and opportunities. The suggested measures are in line with Foshan’s own ambitions and key plans for boosting green mobility in the city and tackling growing city-wide transport challenges, such as high car-dependency, congestion, and insufficient connectivity of the public transport and active mobility networks.
They follow the analysis of the pilot area and reflect the city-wide SUMP vision for establishing a Green and People-Centred mobility landscape. This vision was updated together with the core objectives of the SUMP following previous discussions with local stakeholders to further emphasise Foshan’s own plans and ambitions in sustainable mobility, and to capture both China’s national carbon reduction goals of peaking emissions by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, as well as China’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The proposed measures for implementation at pilot area level include:
- Safe Routes to School:
- A group of measures aimed at improving the safety of routes from residential clusters to local schools, as well as for providing a pleasant and engaging commuting experience for students and parents, and for encouraging active mobility.
- Measures include the creation of dedicated pick-up and drop-off zones, ‘spaces to play’ near school entrances, and soft measures such as campaigns and educational activities aimed at informing students about safety and the health and environmental benefits of green mobility. Some proposed measures also range from policies and regulations such as parking and car entrance restrictions, to the construction and improvement of cycling lanes and the walking infrastructure between schools and residential areas.
2. Improving Active Mobility Environment:
In line with Foshan’s plan to complete the construction of 1,500 km of cycling lanes in 2022, this group of measures proposes specific improvements to the cycling environment along the identified cycling corridors in the pilot area, but also addresses walking infrastructure.
The proposals include the construction of new cycling lanes; adjusting the width of cycling lanes, pavements, and vehicle lanes; reducing the number of vehicle lanes; as well as minor design improvements along otherwise well-developed corridors with potential to optimise the use of space or speed limits for vehicles (see Figure 4).
3. Improving Public Transport Connectivity:
The connectivity of public transport in the pilot area was proposed to be addressed by establishing microcirculation bus lines, providing seamless connection between neighbourhoods and the Kuiqi Rd metro station.
The proposed bus lines would be adapted to local needs and street accessibility to serve each part of the pilot area in a roughly 500m radius from the farthest proposed bus station to the Kuiqi Rd metro station.
During the workshop, valuable feedback was gathered from the stakeholders at city-, district-, and neighbourhood-level. Active mobility was consistently mentioned as a priority for the pilot area’s future development and the proposed measures were welcomed as a reflection and expansion on Foshan’s focus in this area. This recognition related not only to the cycling infrastructure, but also the proposals regarding the walking environment with such measures as expanding the width of pavements at the expense of vehicle lanes or by adjusting the location of trees along the pavements.
Representatives of both the city- and district-level Transportation Bureaus pointed to the suitability of some of the measures with existing construction plans in parts of the pilot area, including some of the affected schools. Concerns were raised, however, about the sufficient consideration of the need for vehicle access near school areas and resulting mixed traffic in front of schools even under some of the proposed safety measures. Some of the participants therefore echoed the importance of educational measures under ‘Safe Routes to School’ and provided further suggestions to add emphasis on these measures.
Regarding the establishment of microcirculation bus lines, local stakeholders emphasised the need to consider the limited width of the streets along the proposed bus lines, highlighting the suitability of only smaller-sized buses to ensure full access to the neighbourhoods. Further consideration is to be given to the frequency of buses based on local needs, as well as the location of parking areas and transfer hubs likely necessary for such bus networks. In finalising the proposed measures, the project development team could also already consider designs for the buses to make them a distinct and attractive form of transport for residents.
The SUMP project development team is now in the process of making adjustments to the pilot area implementation plan before finalising the full SUMP Foshan document, including the proposed measures for the pilot area, as well as financial and impact monitoring plans that were briefly discussed in the workshop, in preparation for a final round of discussions with local stakeholders on the inclusion of proposed measures into ongoing planning activities.
For further information on the SUMP project in Foshan, please see the introductory article on our website or contact Dr Marie Peters, Advisor at CLCT, or Gregor Bauer, Junior Advisor at CLCT, via Transitionfirstname.lastname@example.org.