Because many cities around the world are facing severe problems such as climate change, congested traffic and aging populations, the question of how to achieve sustainable development has become one of the most important issues facing every government. In order to improve this situation, one of the solutions focuses on transportation. A public transit system has to good enough to encourage car and motorcycle drivers to give it a try. Recently, many international cities have made it their stated goal to double public transportation usage before 2025. Therefore, as part of its efforts to stand among such cities, Taichung cannot ignore this issue. After understanding public-transportation development trends in global cities and Taichung’s current situation, we should begin to creatively customize a public transit system for this city. When it comes to developing public transit in Taiwan, people often argue about which system should be used, but miss the key point that a good public transit system should be combined with and complement the features of an individual city. We cannot simply develop a MRT system that moves people around in cold metal boxes without letting them see the beauty of the city they are living in during their rides. The beauty of a high speed rail system is that it saves much travel time, while the beauty of a railway is its ability to enable travelers to enjoy their time savoring the scenery outside the windows. Therefore, what is the beauty of public transit in an urban area? To find the answer, we should combine the cityscape and transit system, and help residents believe that using public transportation is another way of appreciating the culture of their city.
> City Government
BRT is the best choice for an urban area
There are different kinds of urban mass transit systems, including bus, MRT, LRT and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Of course, different systems provide different levels of service performance and have varied costs. When a city is developing its public transit system, its government should consider many factors, such as whether it matches the needs of its residents and how large a budget is available. Since Taichung city currently only uses a bus system, we believe that we should restructure this existing system by transforming it into a BRT system, as this is the optimal choice in light of the current financial situation and needs of Taichung residents. We hope that we can creatively develop the public transit of Taichung by combining the features of the city with a comprehensive transportation network. Other reasons for developing public transit include connecting Taichung’s urban and rural areas and improving the quality of life for every citizen. In conclusion, a BRT system can effectively address the urgent need to develop a better public transit system in Taichung.
Commuters save much time via a BRT transit system
The BRT system in Paris utilizes articulated buses, real-time heads-up display screens and simple bus stations, showing that a BRT system can be as convenient as an MRT one. The Taichung City Government hopes that by introducing a new type of transportation system, each district of the city can become connected and a comprehensive mass transit network can be created. Developing a BRT system doesn’t mean that there will be no regular buses. Rather, buses will still be used to support mass transportation after the BRT system is completed. In the future, commuters will be able to travel anywhere in Taichung city within 60 minutes, which also means that local industries can develop at a faster pace. The impact on traffic is something that everyone worries about during the construction of new mass-transit systems in cities around the world. However, as we can see in a variety of urban areas worldwide, this impact is temporary and the situation improves after an interval of time. The South Korean capital of Seoul also underwent BRT construction between 2004 and 2005 and the results were outstanding. Total system usage has been increasing and traffic has improved significantly. Many Seoul residents have also given up using private vehicles and turned to public transportation. Rouen, in northern France, is another perfect example of integrating a transit system with a cityscape. During the construction of its BRT system, surrounding older areas were also rebuilt to provide nearby bikeways. This also brought more business opportunities for local businesses. One of the most famous cities to use a BRT system is Bogota, the capital of Colombia. Its city government decided to build such a system for two main reasons: First, the bus system could no longer deal with the needs of its residents; second, the Columbian government could not afford the enormous expense of building an MRT system. In light of these factors, the Bogota city government chose to construct a BRT system because the expense was much lower and it was as convenient as an MRT system. Following over a decade of operation and improvements, Bogota has become a model city for mass transit in South America.
Only new ideas can make transportation systems sustainable
The total number of people using Taichung city buses has grown from 400,000 passengers per month 10 years ago to 5 million passengers per month today. This rapidly-growing number means that boosting public transportation usage by two times before 2025 is no longer a difficult challenge for Taichung. The most important consideration now is how we can be creative enough to build a unique, sustainable and comprehensive transportation network for our city. Although there has never been a BRT system in Taiwan, it is a very common mass-transit system in other countries. If we can successfully build a financially sustainable BRT system, we will have taken great strides toward achieving our goals of becoming an international city and enabling more people from around the world to become familiar with Taichung.
- Date ： 2011-10-11
- Hit： 290