Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit System

Exhibition: Cities | October 10, 2011 by

Guangzhou, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, has gained almost three million inhabitants in the past decade. The resulting increase in traffic congestion led the city and its agencies, including the Guangzhou Metro Design Institute, to design a new high-capacity public-transit system, the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit (GBRT), to help cut carbon emissions, reduce gridlock, and reclaim streets and public spaces for residents. Curitiba, Brazil, developed the first Bus Rapid Transit system, and it has spread to Bogotá, Mexico City, Hanoi, Seoul, Istanbul, and more recently to Ahmedabad and Johannesburg.

The GBRT system’s ridership of 800,000 a day, second only to Bogotá’s Transmilenio, surpasses that of each of the five subway lines. The sustainable system features dedicated bus lanes and infrastructure improvements to move buses 30% faster; intermodal integration with subway lines and a bike-sharing system; and a pre-ticketing smart card, multiple large doors, and flush platforms to reduce boarding time.

GBRT is the first in China to include bike parking in its stations and to connect BRT stations to the subway via tunnels, reducing transfer time. Its twenty-six stations and forty-two bus routes are laid out along Zhongshan Avenue, whose innermost lanes form a 23-kilometer (14.3-mile) dedicated bus corridor linking the city center to the fast-growing eastern section of the city, twenty poorer urban villages, and business and residential areas, meeting the transportation needs for a cross-section of the population. This model high-capacity transportation system, built with minimal infrastructure investment in a short period of time, can be transferred to other locations in China, Asia, and cities around the world as demand for sustainable transportation increases.

Design team: Zhang Guangning, former Mayor of Guangzhou, and Su Zequn, Executive Vice Mayor of Guangzhou, The People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality; Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Guangzhou Municipality Construction Commission, Guangzhou Municipality Communications Commission, Guangzhou Traffic Improvement Leading Group Office, Guangzhou Metro Design Institute, and Guangzhou Public Transport Management Office. BRT design consultants: Pedro Szasz, Derek Trusler, Edgar Sandoval, Remi Jeanneret. Guangzhou, China, 2004–10

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