An Intelligent Urban Transportation Ecosystem for China

Gao Feng Insights Report, April 2015

We are pleased to share with you a report titled: An Intelligent Urban Transportation Ecosystem for China. This new report is the product of a collaboration between Gao Feng Advisory Company and our partners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. The core mission of the MIT Media Lab is to design technologies to create a better future.

China’s cities have been the engines powering its rapacious economic growth. Since 1978, China’s urban population has risen from about 18% to over 53% today, and by 2025 about two-thirds of Chinese citizens will live in cities. The 35 largest cities in China recently contributed just under half of China’s overall GDP. However, the wealth accumulated in China’s cities has come at the price of livability. Many cities are struggling with paralyzing gridlock, dangerous air quality, and widening income disparity. There is a growing recognition that the current formula for development is unsustainable, and a more balanced model is being sought.

It is precisely this set of conditions that make China the most likely platform for incubating and commercializing the innovative technologies to serve the “smart cities” of the 21st Century. After several decades of advances in the world of mobile connectivity, big data and social networks, technology is now making the commercialization of smart city transportation solutions feasible. A new “ecosystem approach” must be envisioned to deliver sustainable urban mobility. Such a system should evolve beyond conventional solutions such as private vehicles with electric power trains or bus-rapid transit. This “systems” approach instead focuses on utilizing new technologies, urban strategies, and progressive public policies to create an intermodal and interoperable mobility network that combines existing mobility systems (such as mass transit) with creative new mobility systems.

In this paper, we describe the vision and key elements of an Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand (A-MoD) System, and how a collaborative effort among Academia, Industry and Government can be leveraged to deploy a sustainable urban transportation system in China.

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