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China Transport


Urban and Regional Transport and Communication Systems Training, Research and Management: Partnership Project Between Montreal, Vancouver, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Lanzhou

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Initiatives of the China Development Program Framework (CDPF)
and the China-Canada Higher Education Program (CCHEP)


Executive Summary

The University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research and L'Universite de Montreal's (UdeM) Centre for Research on Transportation were awarded a grant by CIDA to undertake a project in creating training programs and support education materials, developing curriculum and to help build research and management capacity. Environmental management and the increased participation of women in science and technology fields as they relate to transportation industries are areas of special interest. The three key institutional partners in China are Shanghai University of Science and Technology (Shanghai), Zhongshan University (Guangzhou) and the Gansu Eastern Chinese University of Technology (Lanzhou). This five-year project developed by Graham Johnson (UBC Anthropology / Sociology) and Claude Comtois (UdeM Geography) began at UdeM in 1997 and was launched at UBC in 1998.



Summary of Project Rationale

Contemporary China's transport and telecommunications sector is marked by three new transport conditions. First, China's open door policy has increased transportation and communication opportunities and exigencies. As a result of the introduction of market based reforms the establishment of a more competitive transport industry has emerged. However, China is strapped by inefficient infrastructure management and lacks a relevant skilled labour force -- important elements in the smooth development of such an emerging sector.

Second, the government has carried out a policy of reform involving a devolution of power to lower levels and attempting to include a greater representation of the available work force, notably the increased participation of women in the field of science and technology management - of which transportation and communications system is a part. The vertical organization of economic activities has been progressively replaced by horizontal trade network linkages for the procurement and distribution of goods. Chinese authorities are trying to coordinate investments in water, rail, and road transport. But a shift towards combined traffic necessitates new transport vehicles, new operational strategies and new information technologies to accommodate greater volumes and changes in the type and directions of cargo and passenger flows. All these issues must be addressed with an understanding of and respect for the limits of a complicated open global economy but closed and finite ecosystem.

Third, freight and passenger traffic demand forecasts for China indicate a continued expansion of transport activities. This increase in demand requires massive investments. China is currently turning to the international market and development aid for expertise and capital. But this approach reduces the capacity of China to manage risks and imposes a ceiling on the national share of tertiary services in the gross domestic product. China seeks to develop its own indigenous transport and communication services by exposing domestic industries and expertise to the rigor of international competition and by strengthening collaborative opportunities between China's provinces and institutions.

Several constraints exist in China that reduce its capacity to achieve sustainable development in the transport and communications sector. These include its lack of available financial and appropriately - trained human resources - especially among the under0represented women population - to support world standard research, to create innovative teaching programs and to enhance competitive abilities of the sector.



Goals and Impact

The overall goal of the project therefore is to collaborate with China in answering its transport and communication priorities and needs in a sustainable fashion. The main impact of the project is to create opportunities for teaching collaboration and knowledge consolidation. Within this direction of research and teaching is where we will emphasis the development of more avenues of women's participation in the field. Substantively, the project directors and associates will undertake training and research in the various components of urban and regional transportation planning and management. Resource and information sharing will be disseminated among the UBC and UdeM partnerships and their Chines partners as well as transfer from the Shanghai regional expertise to the rapidly developing Guangdong province. Technology and information transfers will also extend to Gansu province, one of the country's poorest regions. The intent therefore is to build and maintain a system of institutional linkages that will enhance the efficacy of knowledge transfer and practical training. At the same time, it is expected that the project's institutional capacity building efforts will help reduce the imbalances in the level and amount of resources allocated to different regions in China.




To achieve these goals, UBC and UdeM jointly embarked on a series of training workshops attended by exchange scholars and planning practitioners, held both in Canada and in China. The Canadian institutions will host Chinese post-doctorate fellows who will advise and participate in the curriculum development process. Field research and case studies have also been undertaken to inform the development of such curriculum and training material.
The UBC Partnership consists of an interdisciplinary team of local municipal and regional planners and transportation industrialists as well as community groups. UBC departments include representations of the various facets of applied science and technology, community and regional planning (School of Community and Regional Planning), transportation and logistics commerce (UBC Commerce), and sustainability and resource management. Governmental agencies represented include Transport Canada and the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority. These partners will participate in advisory, research and development and teaching capacities.

Ultimately, these products of teaching resource materials and the training of post-doctorate fellows and other training delegates will be incorporated into the various centres for transportation studies housed in the three Chinese partner universities


Donna S. Yeung
Project Coordinator & Research Associate
China Transportation Studies Project

Institute of Asian Research
C.K. Choi Building, Room 283
1855 West Mall, UBC
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z2

Tel: 604/822-0538 (w)
Fax: 604/822-5207
Email: dyeung@interchange.ubc.ca

Prof. Graham Johnson
Project Director & Principal Investigator
China Transportation Studies Project

Room 2123 AnSo Bldg
6303 NW Marine Drive, UBC
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z1

Tel: 604/822-2547
Fax: 604/822-6161
Email: gjohnson@interchange.ubc.ca



Web Links - China

Gansu University for Technology


East China Normal University

University of Shanghai for Science and Technology

Zhongshan Univeristy (Center for Urban and Regional Studies)

Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority

Greater Vancouver Regional District

University of Montreal (Centre for East Asian Studies)

University of Montreal (Centre for Research on Transportation)

Transport Canada

University of British Columbia (Centre for Human Settlements)


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