Increased urbanization and expanding growth of metropolitan areas are challenging the economic development and social stability, in particular in developing countries and newly industrialized countries. According to United Nations statistics, nearly 60% of the world population will be living in urban areas in 2030. China as the world’s biggest urban nation will be affected dramatically by this trend. The total urban population of 600 million today will grow up to approximately 900 million inhabitants.

In mega cities, the urbanization process and its dynamic are mostly observable. Mega cities have evolved to large-scale mega urban regions. Their dynamic affects national and global economy. Mega cities are also regions with increased economic productivity, competitive advantages, high average income and high cultural dynamic. Migration from rural areas nurtures the increased growth of mega cities. The strong population pressure and high demographical dynamic lead to social inequalities. However, mega cities provide various potentials to resolve grievances and to optimize infrastructure, in particular transportation infrastructure. Thus, one overall goal in mega cities is the provision of mobility to all sections of population. This includes offering a safe, secure, affordable and low noise transportation.

Planning and implementing a social just and user-friendly transport system is as challenging as developing an energy-efficient, urban infrastructure. Transportation is one of the biggest pollutants of emissions worldwide. Thus, climate protection and energy efficiency are strong goals for the local governments in mega cities.

In China, the rapid development of local and regional transportation systems has been accompanied by environmental problems, which prove to be detrimental for the economic development, social stability and public health. Motor vehicles with combustion engines are emitting extensively pollutants. Consequently, the air quality in numerous cities is decreasing, but increasingly also in rural areas. Thus, one objective of the METRASYS project is the reduction of energy consumption and the emission of CO2 in the transport system. Developing and implementing a sustainable, widespread traffic management system in Hefei is one way of fulfilling the goal.

(see also: METRASYS Working Paper_Hefei 2030 - Transport in a Megacity of Tomorrow )