China fuels sustainable development with sustainable transport

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By He Juan, People’s Daily

At the second United Nations (UN) Global Sustainable Transport Conference held not long ago in Beijing, China brought visitors closer to its new achievements in promoting sustainable transport through several demonstration projects at the interactive experience zone of the conference.

These projects showed how smart port realizes such functions as remotely controlling port machinery via 5G network, intelligent cargo sorting, and unmanned horizontal transport, 5G-based control cabinet for online chauffeur service remotely controls self-driving vehicles, and electronic fences standardize the parking of shared bikes by requiring payment inside the fences.

Transport industry plays a fundamental, leading and strategic role in the development of a country’s economy, and transport services represent an important part of the service sector.

China has built the world’s largest high-speed railway network, expressway network, and world-class port clusters, and opened air and sea routes that reach all parts of the world. The country is now home to an integrated transport network that exceeds six million kilometers.

However, it should be noted that as the demand for transport services rises continuously, problems concerning resources, energy and environment are becoming prominent. Therefore, the realization of sustainable development in the transport industry bears great significance to both the transport industry itself and high-quality economic and social development.

In recent years, China has ramped up efforts to accelerate the integration of emerging technologies, including 5G, big data and artificial intelligence (AI), into transport services, injecting strong impetus into the sustainable development of the transport sector.

Digital and intelligent transformation is becoming a new highlight of China’s transport sector, with new business forms and models as well as new technologies more and more widely used to serve people’s travel needs and facilitate the circulation of goods.

Chinese people have been increasingly benefited from upgraded facilities, new services and innovations such as smart road network, smart port, smart shipping, online car-hailing service, shared bikes, car-pooling service, security check system with facial recognition technology, paperless e-boarding passes, delivery service provided by unmanned aerial vehicles, contactless delivery service, smart parking service, as well as customized bus routes.

Contributing to about 10 percent of the carbon emissions in China, transport industry is a key sector for the country’s efforts to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to relevant data.

Upholding the idea of green development throughout the construction, operation and management of transport infrastructure, China has achieved tangible fruits in promoting energy conservation and carbon reduction in its transport sector in recent years.

The country’s Beijing Daxing International Airport, which utilizes renewable energy through ground source heat pump and photovoltaic power generation, is a 100-percent green building, according to an executive of the airport, who explained features of the airport to visitors at the interactive experience zone of the second UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference with the help of an eye-catching 3D sand table of the airport.

The airport is a vivid reflection of the green and low-carbon development of China’s transport industry.

In recent years, the country has made great efforts to boost the development of green means of transportation, including new energy vehicles and public transport systems, promote the coordinated development of multimodal transport, optimize and adjust transport structure, recycle waste materials including pavement surface materials, steel products, and cement, reduce express packaging waste and make packaging products greener and more recyclable.

From actively advancing the construction of transport facilities in countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative to speeding up the connection of its road network to that of its neighboring countries and launching the China-Europe freight trains that can reach over 170 cities in Europe, China has always worked hard to strengthen both hard connectivity of infrastructure and soft connectivity of institutions and rules around the world, contributing its wisdom and strength to global transport cooperation and governance.

Today, the future and destiny of countries are closely linked and their interests entwined like never before. Only by pooling the wisdom and strength of all and further promoting global transport cooperation can countries better realize unfettered flows of trade and investment and facilitate interactions between civilizations through connectivity of infrastructure.