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Beijing Promises Smooth Transport for Olympic
The Beijing municipal government has stepped up efforts to provide an efficient, safe and quick transportation system for the 2008 Olympic Games through planned special transport lines connecting Olympic venues with the city's external and internal routes.

"We are confident of fulfilling the promises we made that it will take less than 30 minutes for athletes and coaches to get from where they live to any gymnasium and stadium in 2008," said Liu Xiaoming, professor and vice-president of Beijing Polytechnic University.

Transportation Consultant to the Beijing municipal government, Liu is now responsible for the comprehensive layout of the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for Beijing.

Beijing is expected to receive a maximum 1.2 million people per day at Olympic venues during the 15-day competition period.

The transportation lines will mainly depend on a special transportation circle for the Olympics and several other main streets in Beijing. The circle consists of parts of the fourth and fifth ring roads and their connecting roads, said Liu.

According to a fixed transportations promise, Beijing will provide bus services and free public transport services to athletes, coaches and judges.

Meanwhile, officials from the International Olympic Committee and each national Olympic committee, as well as other honorable guests will receive free car services.

As part of the Olympic transport layout, the public transport system, especially the urban railway, is the priority in the coming years before the 2008 Games.

From 1990 to 2000, the percentage of riders on buses and subways dropped from 35 per cent to 27 per cent, according to Quan Yongshen, a top researcher with the Beijing Transport Development Research Center, a think tank for the capital city's communications development.

In an effort to accelerate the development of public transportation, new subway lines totaling 126 kilometers will be constructed from the current 63 kilometers of lines.

The length of the urban railway in Beijing will reach over 100 kilometers later this month with the opening to traffic of the western section of the No 13 Urban Railway Line.

Among the planned urban railway lines, a high-speed 23-kilometre line will be constructed in the future to connect urban Beijing with the Capital International Airport, which is the first stop for most attendants and visitors to the 2008 Games.

Meanwhile, seven new hubs including Xizhimen and Dongzhimen will be set up to make the transfer from subway, urban railway, buses and other vehicles more convenient and efficient.

Urban roads are expected to be increased by some 141 kilometers in the near future.

Some 210,000 public parking lots are expected to be created and parking guide systems will be introduced at the Olympic Green. The systems are now functioning at key areas in the capital such as Xidan and Wangfujing commercial streets.

Audiences to the opening and closing ceremonies will also enjoy sufficient and quick transportation through the No 5 Subway Line and a special branch at the Olympic Green.

Liu also promised that the impact on the daily lives of Beijing residents will be the smallest possible due to good transport organization and efficient management.

Experts also said that major communications infrastructure facilities planned for the Olympics are also key projects for Beijing's overall layout.

"The construction projects with sufficient financial support will no doubt promote Beijing's economic development by a large extent," predicted Liu.

(China Daily September 20, 2002)

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