Sixth World Metropolitan Transport Development Forum 2020
The Chinese word for “CRISIS” is a juxtaposition of “danger” and “opportunity”. The Sixth World Metropolitan Transport Development Forum in Beijing on September 8 provided a platform for policy makers, think tankers, and IT solution providers to discuss the opportunities for urban transport in big cities like Beijing to be more responsive, efficient and adaptive in the aftermath of COVID-19.
China was among the first countries to have contained the pandemic outbreak, and has sustained essential transport services for goods and people during the crisis. The pandemic has profound and long-term impacts on transport sector, on both demand and supply sides. Based on key lessons so far, the Forum stimulated exchanges on the imperative reforms and innovations to the urban mobility regime, especially the planning, infrastructure development and public transport service provision, in the context of normalized pandemic prevention and control. Moreover, the event revealed possibilities to transition urban mobility into more integrated, customized, low carbon and smart solutions, backed by new technologies, clean energy and increased awareness of urban users.
Binyam Reja, World Bank Transport Practice Manager for China and Mongolia, made a speech on Rebuilding Better: How Transport Infrastructure Investment Can Support Economic Recovery and Adapt to a Post-COVID World. The speech outlined the impact of COVID-19 on China’s transport sector, and lessons learned from the 2008-09 infrastructure stimulus packages as adopted by China and the United States. It also provided some recommendations for a green recovery in the transport sector, underpinning that a new longer-term financing mechanism is key to sustain the new stimulus program, for both hardware and service provision.
During the one-day event, the Beijing municipal transport authority launched the MaaS Green City Travel Carbon Incentive Action, a navigation app-based system to encourage commuters to use buses, metro and bikes instead of private cars, and cash out carbon footprints saved for coupons for public transportation or shopping.