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Fostering sustainable public transport – sharing best practices from Sweden & Vietnam

Released at: 10:38, 08/05/2018

Fostering sustainable public transport – sharing best practices from Sweden & Vietnam

Photo: Huong Do

Sweden & Vietnam hold roundtable discussions about the development of the public transport sector.

by Minh Do

Under the theme “Fostering Efficient Operation and Management of Public Transport: Sharing Successful Experience of Sweden in Emerging Countries," the Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden – The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, together with the People’s Committees of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City organized Roundtable Discussions with the Swedish Sustainable City Delegation for their visit in Vietnam from May 7 to 8, in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The events are aimed to strengthen the collaboration between the two countries by sharing experiences, best practices, and technologies to support the development of the public transport sector.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho stated at the event that the public transport systems in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been focusing on investment. Urban railway lines are under construction and the bus system has been developed in terms of quantity and quality. Science and technology has also been applied into operations and management. “Step by step we are comprehensively implementing solutions in order to complete a sustainable urban transport system,” said Le Dinh Tho. “However, along with strong urban growth, Vietnam, like other countries around the world, have faced some hurdles during the process of building sustainable urban transport.”

“Trade and investment between our countries are growing steadily,” Swedish Ambassador Pereric Högberg said. “However, there is room for further increases. We have only just seen the beginning of what is yet to come. With urbanization and a growing middle class, cities in Vietnam face many challenges, not least when it comes to transport. Swedish innovation and expertise can be of great value when Vietnam is looking for sustainable solutions. We hope that the visit by this delegation, with the help of some of Sweden’s leading Sustainable City Solutions companies, will result in concrete discussions with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.”

At the events, Swedish companies including ABB, Ericsson, Volvo Buses, Axis Communications, Volvo Cars and Roxtec had discussions with several public and private stakeholders in the public transport and urban development sector on how Vietnam can increase urban ridership in public transport, ensure that the urban environment is safe, and how Vietnam can make use of the latest technologies available in ITS / IoT and eMobility.

Dr. Brian Hull, General Director of ABB Vietnam shared that Vietnam’s urbanization is growing. The urbanization rate has increased from 19.6 per cent with 629 urban areas in 2009 to 37.5 per cent with 813 urban areas in 2017, according to the Ministry of Construction. Urban areas account for 70 per cent of Vietnam’s total GDP, greatly contributing to industrial production, import-export volume, scientific and technological advancement, as well as social development in the country.

However, as in many other developing countries, Vietnam's urbanization is causing many difficulties and challenges. The rapid pace of urban development often surpasses the capacity of the local government to meet the growth of the demand for services. There are limited funds and there’s a timescale to develop the required technical and social infrastructure so uncontrolled relocation and natural resources often suffer. In addition, Vietnam is also facing other global issues caused by climate change, particularly rising sea levels in the Mekong delta.

Technology will play a critical role in managing this process. ABB is offering solutions across the entire technology value chains with 210 digital solutions. “Industry 4.0 is at the heart of a smart city’s critical infrastructure and can reduce emissions through a clean and efficient electrical transportation infrastructure, manage energy efficiency for buildings, improve leakage performance in the water network, and offer common secure wireless platform," said the General Director of ABB Vietnam. "We are keen to bring even more of our technologies to Vietnam and support the development of sustainable urbanization and smart transportation in Vietnam in particular.”  

Like many similar Asian countries, Vietnam is going through rapid urbanization. As of 2017, around 40 per cent of Vietnam’s population of 90 million was living in urban areas. This is expected to increase to 50 per cent by 2025. With the government’s orientation toward sustainable urbanization, public transportation has become the key factor in the journey to develop urban mobility. In line with the strategy for the development of public transportation from 2020 to 2030, Vietnam aims to make public transportation the preferable choice, control private vehicle growth, and to upgrade the quality of urban transportation. In addition, by 2020, Vietnam’s goal is to have 20 per cent of buses and taxis using LPG, CNG or solar energy.

However, to achieve these goals, Vietnam needs to set a clear vision and plan, and study successful cases from countries that are world leaders in this development.

Sweden has long been at the forefront of urban planning, environmental friendliness and traffic safety. Since 1990, emission has been reduced by 9 per cent while GDP has increased by close to 50 per cent. Since 1970, oil dependence has reduced by 90 per cent. Furthermore, the number of traffic fatalities has been cut in half from 2000 to 2013, reaching 30 per million habitants per year, which is among the lowest in the world.

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