Tainan’s recipe to become a low-carbon city includes an attractive and sustainable public transport system that accommodates citizens’ needs while cutting localized air pollution and CO2 emissions.

Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest city, is shifting people from private cars to public transport by remodeling the bus system to be more effective and user friendly, and introducing the “Metro Bus” as a new bus brand with easily recognizable colors for each of the seven main lines. So far, the change has been a success, as the annual passenger volume has increased from 9.8 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2016.

7,075 tons of CO2 reduced annually since 2012

Cities100 – 2017

The $120-million Metro Bus project, part of Tainan’s vision for becoming a low-carbon city, has replaced 130 old, polluting vehicles with new accessible buses and established more than 3,000 bus stops, 550 shelters, and nine intermodal stations equipped with real-time information. The system, not yet fully expanded, will replace 30 vehicles with low-carbon ones and build 50 intelligent bus stops every year. The number of passengers is also expected to increase by 10% annually.

The challenge

The scale and structure of Tainan is unique, including both dense urban and countryside areas, making it difficult to serve all citizens with the previous mobility strategy in a satisfying and environmentally effective manner.


Economic As a result of the increase in passenger volumes, bus companies now operate routes at a profit and thereby without government subsidies.

Environmental Shifting people from personal cars to public transport has lowered congestion, and travel times have decreased by 30%, resulting in lower emissions.

Social The bus system has improved the mobility of the citizens, and the usage of free tickets for the elderly has increased by 150%, indicating an increase in use by the city’s seniors.

Health As a result of the higher usage of the buses, death caused by accidents in private vehicles has decreased by 7.3% and injuries have been reduced with 6.1%.

About Tainan

Tainan City is a special municipality of Taiwan, facing the Formosan Strait or Taiwan Strait in the west and south. Tainan is the oldest city on the island of Taiwan and is also one of Taiwan’s cultural capitals. Tainan claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan.

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