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Urban infrastructure

Public transport for 30 million people

by Sabine Balk

In depth

Underground station in Chongqing.

Underground station in Chongqing.

Chongqing wants to become a model city for public transport in China. In the coming decades, a network encompassing several hundred kilometres of track is to be created for underground and suburban trains. This contribution was produced in cooperation with KfW.

Based on the area of the administrative district, Chongqing with almost 30 million inhabitants is the largest city in the world and extends over an area that is nearly as big as that of Austria. Like many of the world’s megacities, this metropolis is facing a collapse of its transport system.

The city council is therefore pushing forward with the development of the public transport system. The city’s topography is a challenge due to the great differences in altitude and the slopes that in some cases drop steeply to the banks of the Yangtze, requiring tunnels and underground tracks.

The city is attempting to create a coherent transport system. For planners it is not just a question of creating an efficient mass transit system in the urban core where around 10 million people live. The Greater Chongqing area is also to be integrated in the system. It is important that all modes of transport are integrated with each other, says Shen Xiaoyang, Chief Executive of the operator Chongqing Rail Transit (CRT): For the inner city, trams and underground railways are the right solution.

For the connection with the surrounding area, Shen Xiaoyang is considering something along the lines of German suburban railways. On behalf of the German Federal Government KfW Development Bank is supporting Chongqing’s public transport with a loan of € 200 million as this contributes to environmental protection and conservation of resources. Specifically, CRT has been extended a loan for the 36 km extension of underground line 1 between the city centre and the western suburbs. Two thirds of the monies have ­already been disbursed. These will co-­finance the purchase of control components, station equipment and tracks. A study commissioned by CRT for the extension of the track network with German-style suburban railways has been financed. KfW Development Bank would welcome this extension as special German know-how could be contributed.