Global Overview for Unban Rail Transit and the Urgency for PPP Standard Development


 Prof.Li, Kaimeng, Ph.D., Director General of CIECC Research Centre


Dear Colleagues,

Im Li Kaimeng, from China International Engineering Consulting Corporation(CIECC). It is my great pleasure to be there joining the Team of Specialist (TOS) PPP meeting, and use this opportunity to discuss together how to develop the best practise PPP model on Urban Rail Transit to support the member states to develop a greener environment and quality life.

 I would share with you about my vision on the global overview of Urban Rail Transit, and the urgency for the PPP standard development in terms of people-first principle.

Compared with traditional public transport systems, urban rail transit is a greener and environmental-friendly transport mode with energy-efficiency,land-conservation, huge traffic capacity, less pollution, convenience, safety and comfort, which is in line with the principles of sustainable development requirements, especially suitable for the public transport needs in large and medium-size cities.

Although urban rail transit has a history of over 150 years (the first line in London in1863), urban rail transit system has been built in large-scale internationally only since 1970s. Untill now, over 50 countries have operated subways in more than180 cities, the gross length of which has exceeded 10,000 kilometers. It includes Metro, Light rail, Monorail, Urban fast track, tram, Maglev Train and APM.

Progress of urbanization all over the world, especially in developing countries, leads people to an increasing requirement on ecological and green urban transport. In choosing the mode of urban transportation, people pay more and more attention to land and energy saving, environment quality improvement, and passengers safety. As a result, urban rail transit has become the priority of public transportation in large and medium-sized cities. In Tokyo, urban rail transit has undertaken 88% of the gross city passenger volume, comparing to 71% of London, 70% of Paris and 55% of Moscow. In big cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai, urban rail transit undertakes 86.6% and 89.1% passenger volume respectively in downtown urban areas. 

In term of technology, most countries in the world attach great importance to the innovation and application of new technologies on urban rail transit. They are trying to improve the innovation and application of RAMS (ReliabilityAvailability,Maintainability and Safety), big data, BIM Building Information Modeling technologies in the area of urban rail transit, with consideration of green, environment protection, intelligence and sustainability. For instance, in China, 7 national engineering labs have been built up to improve the research and innovation of high-technologies, including rail transit system test, automobile system integration, communication and operation control of trains,technologies on transit system security assurance, transit system security and maintenance assurance, technologies on green and safe construction, and technologies on digital construction and assessment.

Urban rail transit construction not only needs huge investments and influences many stakeholders, but also requires high construction and operation quality, which cannot only rely on the investment and operation by public sectors, but needs involvement of private sectors as well. PPP is regarded as a very important model for the implementation of urban rail transit projects in most countries. 

It is very complicated to apply PPP model upon urban rail transit sector. Factors such as the exploitation of urban land, urban transportation network planning,business mode structure design, and the requirement of energy conservation and environment protection should all be taken into consideration.

Comparing to ordinary railways, urban rail transit would exert very different influences on urban regions and industry. Thus, it is of great significance and necessity to establish a PPP international standard specially focus on urban rail transitsector. We suggest to develop a UNECE PPP standard in accordance with the best practice of urban rail transit PPP projects, so that we could promote the private sectors to involve more effectively in the investment, construction and operation of urban rail transit sector, and the urban rail transit projects can be developed healthily under the people-first principles and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) advocated by the United Nations.

At present, national urban public transport authorities and PPP policymakers of different countries, especially the developing countries in the world are trying to develop comprehensive PPP policy systems for urban public transport, while the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank have also been actively advocating the construction of public transport systems. The standard we initiative will provide policy framework and PPP model principles applied in urban rail transit sector, in line with the requirements of the international organizations and governments. 

The standard will try to standardize the operation of urban rail transit PPP projects, reduce transaction costs and attract more private capital to involve in the construction and maintenances of urban rail transit projects. So it is of great importance to stimulate the innovation of urban rail transit project implementation. 

At present, China is becoming the largest PPP market for urban rail transit in the world, this provides sufficient case resources for the study and development of the PPP international standard. Under the impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Fund and other international initiatives, more and more Chinese enterprises have been involved in the constructions of urban rail transit projects in different countries. We hope to make effective contribution to the preparation of the urban rail transit PPP standard.  The core project team will be made up of top experts in the field of urban rail transit sectors around the world. The standard will be in line with the requirements of the UN SDGs based on the summary of successful urban rail transit PPP cases in the world.  We hope the experts from different countriescan join us to develop such a significant standard together, so that we can contribute to the realization of the UN 2030 agenda collaboratively. I am looking forward to work with you in the near future!

Thank you very much!



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