Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kaohsiung Car Free Days and a Green Transport Program: Low-carbon, high-amenity transport, one city at a time

With mounting visible evidence of the reality and extremely high cost of climate change, people in Taiwan increasingly feel the importance of being a part of the earth. And the city of Kaohsiung has decided to do something about it.

- Dispatch by Ray Hung, Transportation Bureau, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Kaohsiung is Taiwan's second largest city with a population of 1,510,000. And it is a busy city. The large harbor makes it an important trade stop along the Northeast Asia/South Pacific passageway. With visible evidence of the high cost of climate change, people in Taiwan increasingly feel the importance of being a part of the earth. The city of Kaohsiung has decided to do something about it.

2009 Car Free Day activities.

Kaohsiung City Government organized the eighth edition of its annual Car Free Day in September this year, urging the public to use and to think about more green transport and experience energy-saving and environmental-friendly lifestyle.

To celebrate this event, Kaohsiung City Government invited the founder of the World Car Free Days, Eric Britton, to join and promote the concept of sharing low-carbon, high conviviality transportation, as a warm-up for the first session of the "Sharing Green Transportation International Forum" which will be held in Kaohsiung City from 16-19 September 2010.

In addition to the traditional city-wide Car Free Day celebrations and cycling events held on Sunday the 27th of September, the public transportation activities through the full new mobility week, including three days free ride of city bus, car-free day unlimited usage of public bicycle and the bus driver's selection, had let the public have more opportunities to take public transportation and develop sustainable public transport thinking.

2009 Car Free Day in Kaohsiung - Kaohsiung's mayor pushing for sustainable transport

Kaohsiung City - The making of a green transport-oriented city

Kaohsiung City Government continues its long term move towards the pursuit of green transport-oriented city.

In 2008, the 42.7 km mass rapid transit system and 24 bus rapid transit road network made the public transport usage percentage significantly increase from 4.3% to 11%.

In order to construct a more convenient MRT road network, Kaohsiung City Government is actively processing the 19.6 km light rail investment operations.

C-Bike: Public Bicycle project now on the street in Kaohsiung

In addition, encouraging commuters and tourists to choose a more environmental-friendly means of transport, Kaohsiung City Government has launched 50 stations and 4,500 bicycles for public bicycle system. (For more on this project please see http://www.c-bike.com.tw/eng/qanda.html)

The Public Cycling System in Kaohsiung – A 365 days a year green transport event

The city is committed to extending the total length of its bicycle paths from the current 110 kilometers to 180 km by the end of this year.

Plans for first World Shared Transport Conference – September 2010

The City of Kaohsiung has during this week of related events committed to hosting an international conference from 16 – 19 September 2009, that will for the first time bring a panel of world leaders working in the field of shared transport systems of many kinds together for an intense three day presentation and brainstorm on this transportation concept which is seeing innovation and rapid growth in many leading cities around the world.

Transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and wealthiest and livable) cities.

This International Conference - the first of its kind -- will bring together leading thinkers and sharing transport practitioners from around Taiwan, Asia and the world, to examine the concept of shared transport (as opposed to individual ownership) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with a strong international and Chinese-speaking contingent.

The concept of shared transport is at once old and new, formal and informal, and one that is growing very fast. Something important is clearly going on, and the Kaohsiung event look at this carefully, in the hope of providing a broader strategic base for advancing not just the individual shared modes, but the sustainable transport agenda more broadly.

Are we at a turning point? Is sharing already starting to be a more broadly used and relevant social/economic pattern? Is there an over-arching concept which we can identify and put to work for people and the planet?

These are some of the issues we will examine with prominent invited guests from the fields of economics, politics, psychology, who will join transportation experts to discuss these trends.

The conference will also delve deeper into specific shared transport modes and their applications in a series of parallel workshop sessions which will include various forms of carsharing, ridesharing, bikesharing, taxi-sharing, street-sharing and a number of others, as well as the integration of traditional sharing in the form of public transport.

Places at this event are limited, although for those unable to attend media and web coverage will be extensive.

* To learn more about the forthcoming conference, please visit – www.kaohsiung.newmobility.org
* Or get in touch via email: kaohsiung@newmobility.org

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About the author:

Ray Hung
Traffic Management Center
Transportation Bureau
Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

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