Cities on the Move: The next step in multi modal transport.

Written by Jim Davis on 21 March 2014

On behalf of World Infrastructure News, Brian hosted a discussion on the theme of Cities on the Move: The next step in multi modal transport. Joining him on the panel were Dr Chwen-Jinq Chen, Political Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan, Prof Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw and Dennis Fuentès, Director Urban & Regional Mobility Unit for SAFEGE Consulting Engineers.

Brian Kilkelly introduced the panel held during MIPIM and explained the session would be considering how mobility is being used in the drive to improve the sustainability, resilience, and vibrancy of cities around the world.

Taoyuan Aerotropolis 

Dr Chwen-Jinq Chen spoke about ongoing plans to double the size of Taoyuan Airport, serving Taipei City as an International Hub. This is part of the "Taoyuan Aerotropolis" plan which will extend over a 10 year period (scheduled for completion at the end of the decade). The aim is not only to keep attracting the international airlines that serve the island, but also to open up new trade routes. The land acquisition process required has been completed with $20bn of government funding. There is also a metro rail system to link the airport with the capital.

With a predicted increase of visitors to Taiwan of 10m per annum, Dr Chen discussed better ways for them and Taiwanese to travel using Intelligence systems such as vehicle routing, trip planning and decision making. ‘E-cards’ for Tourists are also being introduced to increase the use of public transport. Dr Chen also stated the importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change. He cited the prevention of further disasters through land management and caps on road development to prevent landslides. Keeping a tight control on development of indigenous mountain areas was an issue important to Taiwan. Looking to the future for Taiwan, Mr Chen stated that:

"This is the best chance ever for making use of smart technologies to improve life for Taiwanese”

Dr Chwen-Jinq Chen, Political Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taiwan

Fantastic legacy of trams

Prof Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw, Poland spoke about developments in the city’s transport systems. She shared the amazing fact that some 70% of citizens use public transport - possibly because (unlike many Western European cities), Warsaw retained it’s legacy of tram systems. The city is also investing in the future, and is developing a new subway system (Line 2) with 7 new stations. Most of the funding for the project, still in construction, has come from the EU and is was questioned as whether this will be such a secure funding stream in the future. 20% of the city's budget is spent on subsidising the city’s extensive public transport network - the tram lines alone cover over 400km.

The city is modernising at pace and there is now an integrated ticketing system to cover all public transport modes. 3 years ago a bike share scheme was introduced. Prof  Gronkiewicz-Waltz, proudly shared that the scheme was rated 10th best in the world by USA Today. Warsaw has now also introduced new technologies such as GPS and smart cards. One may now buy parking tickets via mobile phone and there are now intelligent bus stop information systems.

Prof Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw

Integration, integration, integration

Dennis Fuentès, drew attention to the fact that, with 80% of people living in cities, there is greater need to integrate different modes of transport. Well designed transport hubs can be regarded as very important tools for urban development and regeneration. With ever increasing amounts of people living in cities, the private car is no longer positive for development in the quest to build liveable cities. Public transport needs further development and integration at outer suburbs are particularly challenging. He pointed to the opportunity to make citizens’ journeys more enjoyable and efficient through much closer integration and coordination at points of transit changes - for example from bus to train.

He also stated that to achieve and manage the mass transport of citizens in cities there needs to be strong political will with a vision for transport and all its benefits such urban development. However, there also needs to be good administrative organisation as there is not always a coherent organisation to cover all systems.

With all these increasing demands on space and how we get about our cities there is also the tightrope of funding with ticketing schemes, city taxes, government support and private - public procurement mechanisms becoming much more important. Denis urged the audience to "start thinking in the '3rd dimension', even in advancements in urban cable cars and vertical cities."

Dennis Fuentès, Director Urban & Regional Mobility Unit, SAFEGE Consulting Engineers

Last Mile

Brian Kilkelly summarised the session and mentioned how excited he was to see at MIPIM a promotion of the collaboration between the City of Grenoble and Toyota, with their ‘i-Road’ electric vehicle initiative. Solving the ‘last mile’ challenge to spur greater use of mass transit in cities is a major challenge across our busy cities. Brian felt the project in Grenoble was a great pointer to the future of mobility.

Tomorrow's City is coming soon ...

Join World Cities Network in London on April 25th to participate in discussions around the financing of city infrastructure including transportation systems. More info here