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Through the Efforts of Mayor Chiang after Taking Office, Traffic Environment has Gradually Improved

    Since taking office, Mayor Chiang has been focusing on transportation policies, which mainly includes getting rid of the living hell traffic for pedestrians, reducing carbon emissions with green transportation, and improving transportation for Neihu Technology Park. Pedestrian fatalities and injuries in Taipei City have dropped from 203 in January of this year (2023) to 142 in November. The Nov. public opinion survey showed that 88% of the public felt that more vehicles are stopping to let pedestrians pass, which is an improvement, and the satisfaction rate has reached 80.4%. In addition, an interview was conducted regarding the implementation of the “Motorcycle out of Verandas and Sidewalks 2.0” on three streets this year (2023), the support rate reached 83.7%. In terms of carbon reduction with green transportation, after the implementation of “Megacity Pass,” the number of passes sold in October reached 570,000, and the transfer rate from private transportation to Megacity Pass reached 7.33%. The results exceeded expectations.

    Regarding the situation of having no YouBikes at some stations, after adding more bikes, the rate of seeing YouBikes at stations has increased from 80% to 90%. The traffic problem at Neihu Technology Park has been a tough issue for all the past mayors. After Mayor Chiang took office, he immediately set up a task force. The calculated average travel time during weekday afternoon peak hours (17:00-19:00) in 2023, has decreased by about 6-13% compared to that in January to March of last year (2022). This is the result of the efforts of the city mayor, the Department of Transportation (hereinafter referred to as the DOT), and all the teams within the city government.

    After CNN’s featured report on the living hell traffic for pedestrians early this year, it attracted a lot of attention from the society. The city government immediately established a task force focused on creating a pedestrian area that is coherent and safe and have implemented this in a planned manner. Among which, getting motorcycles out of verandas and not allowing motorcycles to go on sidewalks are to mainly ensure and maintain the basic safety of pedestrians. This will first be implemented on road sections with more tourists. “Motorcycle out of Verandas and Sidewalks 2.0” will be implemented on five road sections by the end of this year (2023), and in order to mitigate the impact, at least 70% of parking spaces for motorcycles will be maintained to meet local demand. Also, through converting some of the parking spaces for cars to that for motorcycles, as well as actively reviewing public and private land use and deformed land to construct off-street parking lots, 1,295 parking spaces for cars and 955 spaces for motorcycles have been added this year (2023).

    In terms of the safety at intersections, the support rate of expanding the implementation of pedestrian scramble and leading pedestrian interval is 85.7%, and the satisfaction rate of implementing a regular traffic signal (instead of a flashing traffic signal) in the early morning hours at 413 locations is nearly 80%. Yellow pedestrian crossings at intersections have also been gradually implemented around schools. Through law enforcement and dissemination through education, pedestrian fatalities and injuries have dropped significantly.

    After Mayor Chiang took office, he focused on promoting the “Megacity Pass.” Since it was launched on July 1st of this year (2023), a total of 2.6 million passes have been sold and the number of uses for the various means of transportation has reached 201.71 million. According to a questionnaire survey, the satisfaction rate of the public has reached 98% and the transfer rate from private transportation to Megacity Pass is 7.33%, which is actually higher than the original estimate of 5%. According to statistics, from July to Oct. of this year (2023), the city’s overall transportation volume of public transportation increased by 14%-27% compared with that of last year. 

    Regarding the “First 30-Minute Free” policy for YouBike that will be implemented in 2024, the DOT conducted a questionnaire survey among car and motorcycle users in July of this year (2023), and the results showed that there was a support rate of 79.4%. In November, another questionnaire survey was conducted among YouBike users, and there was also a support rate of 86.3%. As for the public concern of having no bikes at stations for rental, according to the analysis of the DOT, the main reason is that the number of bikes were not immediately added after the withdrawal of YouBike 1.0, and the public sometimes faced the situation where there were no YouBikes to rent. After Mayor Chiang took office, 1,780 YouBikes were added in May 2023. The availability rate of YouBikes at stations in Taipei City increased from 80% in May to 85%. In addition, under the suggestion and strategy of dispatching optimization provided by the Urban Intelligence Center, an additional 1,500 YouBikes is to be added in December (currently 1,075 have been added). The latest data showed that the availability rate has increased to 90%. In 2024, an additional 6,000 YouBikes is expected to be added. Meanwhile, dispatch optimization will be expanded to the entire city with big data. The city government is already prepared to implement the “First 30-Minute Free” policy next year.

    As for the recent public concern about the construction of the MRT Circular Line Eastern Section, it will indeed have an impact on the transportation at Neihu Technology Park. The Department of Rapid Transit Systems and the DOT will invite experts, scholars, and local enterprises to hold a meeting in the near future to jointly discuss plans to maintain local transportation, collect a wide-range of opinions, propose more concrete response measures and supplementary measures, and to think of ideas together with the local enterprises so as to jointly face the challenges during the construction period. As for Danbei Rd., visitations and communication have been conducted with the locals. New Taipei City’s Traffic Maintenance Plan will also be submitted in advance before the end of December this year (2023). The DOT will conduct the review in the most rigorous manner so as to reduce the impact on the traffic in Taipei City.

    Following the development of urbanization and the lifting of the pandemic, the number of vehicles in Taipei City has been increasing and transportation has been subjected to greater challenges. Wanting to change from “vehicle-centered design” to being “pedestrian-centered design” so as to construct a traffic environment that is pedestrian-oriented, friendly, and safe, is not something that can be achieved overnight. The city government is proactive in dealing with traffic issues of public concern, such as pedestrian safety, parking, YouBike, and traffic at Neihu Technology Park, etc., and have formulated, short-, medium-, and long-term plans for these issues, and will continue to work on executing these improvements.

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