In 2012, ITDP China won an international bid by the Asian Development Bank to provide the BRT preliminary design in Yichang, the second largest city in Hubei Province, and the site of the Three Gorges Dam. This major project features a BRT corridor through the heart of the city. ITDP prepared the preliminary corridor design, demand analysis, operations, station and road design, modal integration plan (focusing on pedestrians & bicycles), and other system features.
The construction began in February 2014, and two BRT corridors in 2015 were opened, from the city center southward of 13kilometers with twenty-two stations, and northward of 10 kilometers and fifteen stations. Impact analysis surveys in September 2015 already reveal a range of impressive impacts, such as dramatic improvements in perceptions of public transport, a mode shift among BRT users of 20% from cars & taxis, improved security & civic pride, and a reduced bus-vehicle kilometers traveled by 7,400 km per day due to more efficient operations. In its first full month of operation, the Yichang BRT averaged 240,000 daily passenger trips on 362 buses, 200 of which are new BRT buses with doors in both sides.
The first four bike sharing stations were implemented in Yichang late in 2015, with the stations focused around the city center and BRT corridor and capturing much media attention. The entire first phase of the bikesharing system will cover the central city area with 27 stations and 645 bikes, and will be implemented by the middle of 2016. The phase I stations cover the city center area enclosed by Dongshan Dadao, Yanjiang Dadao, Shengli Silu, and Xiling Erlu, and will include integration with the BRT system in terms of physical proximity, smart card payment system, and information and signage.
Yichang has in recent months implemented a major on-street parking reform program focused along the BRT corridor in Dongshan Avenue. Roughly half of the 1,000 off-street parking spaces along the BRT corridor have been removed, and the remaining setback parking is now better managed to eliminate or minimize encroachment on pedestrian and bicycle facilities. On-street parking reform will also be a key part of the BRT corridor implementation in Yiling District.
Based on Yichang BRT project, ITDP provides the BRT corridor urban development strategy study, including changing setback parking and improve public space, improving BRT station accessibility, BRT station area urban development, greenway planning, parking survey and reform. The proposals of BRT corridor urban development strategy, banning setback parking, creating better public space, improving BRT corridor access and reducing parking provision along the BRT corridor were presented to Vice Mayor, ADB, General Party Secretary, Yichang Planning Bureau, Yichang Construction Commission, Yichang Urban Investment Company, BRT leadership group etc. These were incorporated into the MOU signed by ADB and the Vice Mayor, and are part of a proposed additional ADB loan in 2016.