This is a guest post from Dani Simons, Director of Communications for the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. Before joining ITDP, Simons worked for the New York City Department of Transportation and Transportation Alternatives, NYC's best advocate for bicycling, walking, and public transit.
Seventeen American transit executives get on a bus... Sounds like the start of a joke, right? But that’s what happened recently in Guangzhou, the third largest city in China.
Like all Chinese cities, Guangzhou has seen an explosion in automobile ownership over the past decade. This combined with rapid growth in demand for the bus system lead to terrible congestion and safety issues on Zhongshan Avenue, a major street through the Central Business District. Zhongshan Avenue is no longer a nightmare of traffic and pollution, but rather a vibrant commercial avenue.
The transit execs were there as part of an International Transit Studies Program, sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, to see how Guangzhou managed to turn things around so dramatically, quickly, and inexpensively by using buses instead of metro or light rail.
This article is a little more than a year old, but I ran across it today. Very interesting post on how the Chinese city of Guangzhou modernized its bus fleet and improved traffic congestion multiple times over.
Atlanta, Georgia could learn a thing or two here...