This case explores ChinaMapthe planning and construction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System in Jinan, China. The rapid rise in auto ownership and debilitating traffic congestion has required Chinese cities to explore the feasibility of auto-alternative transportation systems. After one city in China successfully implemented a BRT system, students act as a foreign consultant tasked with helping to plan a second BRT system in Jinan. They grapple with logistical challenges, the implications of social equity, and political maneuvering. The case is a lesson in what it means to steadfastly pursue the ideal option when attempting to transfer best practices to new contexts, versus the better, adapted option and how concessions may be needed to ensure that projects are implemented.

Planning Topics

transportation planning, social justice, public transportation, economic development, best practices, policy transfer

Learning Objectives

  1. Consider the implications of seeking the best option versus any option that is an improvement over current conditions.
  2. Recognize the influence national policies have on local problem solving.
  3. Understand the inflexibility of formula-based, technical solutions: numbers and quantitative models alone may not be able to account for all of the complex dynamics related to politics, economics, cultural norms, physical context, and unexpected operational problems.
  4. Comprehend the difference between transferring policies and transferring capacity (i.e., specialized skills and training, staffing, political power, etc.), especially when multinational/international bodies and organizations are involved.

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Suggested Readings

  1. Cervero, R. (1998). Chapter 10, Creating a linear city with a surface metro: Curiciba. Chapter, 265-295. In The transit metropolois: A global inquiry, Washington, DC: Island Press. See book summary
  2. Pucher, J, Zhong-Ren P, Mittal, N, Zhu, Y and N Korattyswaroopam. (2007). Urban transportation trends and policies in China an India: Impacts of rapid economic growth. Transport Reviews 27, 4: 370-410. Read the abstract
  3. Hidalgo, D and P Graftieaux. (2008). Bus rapid transit systems in Latin America and Asia. Results and difficulties in 11 cities. Transportation Research Record, 2072: 77-88. Read the abstract
  4. Badami, M. (2009). Urban transport policy as if people and the environment mattered: Pedestrian accessibility the first step. Economic and Political Weekly, Aug 15. Read the abstract