First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


Yichang’s new Bus Rapid Transit system is offering an efficient and accessible means of transport for citizens, improving urban mobility and air quality.

Rapid urbanization, economic growth and rising private vehicle ownership have led to extreme congestion on the roads of Yichang, Hubei’s second largest conurbation. To remedy this, the city has introduced a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and a bypass route for freight. Providing citizens with a 24 km green public transport corridor offers a cheaper and more efficient means of urban mobility for those previously stuck in private cars. It also connects the main residential areas with other modes of transport including the high-speed railway.


Prior to implementation of the BRT, more than three quarters of all trips were taken by means of private transport. Over the three months following the BRT’s opening in Yichang city, car mode share dropped from 40% to 30% and bus mode share nearly doubled, increasing from 18% to 34% of morning peak trips. Bus waiting times have reduced from 13 minutes before BRT to an average of 6 minutes in BRT locations.

A BRT station in Yichang City. Showing the dedicated bus lanes which reduce air pollution in the city.
Yichang’s dedicated bus lanes reduce air pollution from private fossil-fuel consuming vehicles.

The Challenge

Air pollution is estimated to be re- sponsible for around 1.1 million deaths every year in the PRC. Solutions like this in the transport sector can help to cut this figure down.


Economic The economic benefits of the BRT project include reduced congestion, improved commute times, fewer road accidents and savings to vehicle operating costs.

Health Taking cars off the road contributes to reduced particulate and NOx emissions – the primary contributors to respiratory illnesses.

Social Following consumer surveys, female passengers felt the BRT offered them additional security at the stations compared to previous bus stops and commuters rated the conditions inside the buses highly.