Ho Chi Minh City has set an ambitious target to complete its modern public transport system by 2030 in a bid to ease chronic traffic congestion and related issues, including environmental pollution caused by the rising number of personal vehicles, according to the head of the municipal Department of Transport.
In the next 15 years the modern public transport system will be connected with eight metro routes, two tramways, one monorail and six bus rapid transit lines, Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the department, said at the “Vietnam - France Trail and Urban Transport” seminar on Friday.
Urban transport plays an important role in modern society, especially in reducing traffic congestion in big cities, amid the context that the number of personal vehicles is on the increase each year in Vietnam, he added.
In particular, urban railway and metro systems are often regarded as a symbol of a modern metropolis, Cuong remarked.
An adverse impact of economic development is the risk of serious traffic gridlock, which is a challenge to urban transport, so the important task of Ho Chi Minh City, which is Vietnam’s biggest hub, is to modernize its urban transport system to cope with it, he said.
"France is a country with an advanced urban transport system, so Ho Chi Minh City invites French investors and companies to join hands with local authorities in developing future transport projects,” Cuong said.
Vietnam is facing a big challenge in many issues, with an annual population rise of about 800,000 people and a fast urbanization rate that enables around one million people to become urban dwellers per annum, said Emmanuel Ly-Batallan, French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to forecasts, by 2050 there will have been over 60 percent of Vietnam's population living in urban areas, compared with 33 percent in 2013, Ly-Batallan said.
Upon completion, Ho Chi Minh City’s urban railway system will surpass that of Singapore, which reached the total length of 160km in 2013, and become one of the largest urban railway systems in Southeast Asia, on a par with that in Shanghai (538km in 2013) and Beijing (465km in 2013), he added.
The Vietnamese city has plans to build eight subway lines, with the first covering 19.7km from Ben Thanh Station in District 1 to Suoi Tien Station in District 9, to be completed in 2019.
Remi Genevy, national director of the French Development Agency (AFD), said the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport has decided to invest US$45 billion in upgrading and building new transport networks, which are largely reserved for rail, while the rest is earmarked for road construction.
As a result, the AFD wishes to help Vietnam improve financial efficiency in implementing those projects, Genevy said.
France wishes to promote cooperative relations with Vietnamese partners in urban transport, as the European country’s railway industry is of numerous leading and world-class standards in many aspects: design, engineering, locomotives and compartments, signaling systems, equipment, service and maintenance, Genevy added.
Ten world-renowned French companies partaking in the seminar, including Alstom, Colas Rail, Consolis, Thales and Vossloh Cogifer, also introduced the latest equipment, technology, and technical assistance for the development of railways.
In particular, many referred to the development of intelligent transport systems, one of the most important things to be considered for improving and upgrading existing transport facilities.