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World Bank and Development Partners Organized the 7th Urban Transport Distance Learning Workshop in Beijing and 7 distance learning centers in western China

2017-12-07

The Seventh Urban Transport Distance Learning Workshop was jointly organized by the World Bank China Transport Unit as part of the TransForm Project and the China Development Distance Learning Network (CDDLN). The workshop was supported by Tongji University, China Urban Planning and Design Institute’s Urban Transport Branch, and the USA Energy Foundation’s China Sustainable Transportation Center.

Topic: Complete Street and Non-Motorized Transport

Connecting Beijing and seven distance learning centers (DLCs) with 211 participants in China from December 6 to 7, 2017

Introduction

1. The Seventh Urban Transport Distance Learning Workshop is one of the sector training programs under the TransForm project managed by the World Bank China Transport Unit (the WB team) and the CDDLN. The sector training programs started in 2011. For each of the seven workshops, the WB team coordinated with the CDDLN on pedagogical and administration arrangements and was responsible for designing the content of the workshops and inviting speakers. CDDLN invited interested distance learning centers (DLCs) to participate in the workshops. City DLCs invited participants from interested agencies in their cities and counties, managed the distance learning, and conducted discussions and evaluations.

2. The Chinese government designated the CDDLN as the main mechanism for providing training in the western regions of the country. Since its inception in 2000, CDDLN has used modern information technologies to focus on key issues related to the development of the country’s western region. CDDLN has increased the number of city distance learning centers five-fold since 2005 from 12 to more than 60. Some of the DLCs were funded by the World Bank. CDDLN’s training programs have become an important learning resource for decision makers and practitioners in western cities, counties, and towns.

3. The first computer-based Urban Transport Distance Learning Workshop was held in April 2011 with 10 DLCs and about 100 participants. The second was in May 2012 with 12 DLCs and 150 participants. Participation surged in 2016 with 12 DLCs and 645 participants. The increase in participation was due to several major improvements in the workshop, including the following: (i) inviting the right agencies and participants, (ii) adjusting the presentations based on participants’ needs, (iii) actively involving agencies working on Bank-financed urban and urban transport projects, (iv) reducing the length of the presentations but increasing the time for questions and answers and discussions, and (v) balancing theory and practice by introducing more case studies.

4. This year’s topic was Complete Street and Non-Motorized Transport. Two major areas were addressed: (1) complete street designs for urban transport and (2) improved roads for pedestrian and bicycle (Annex includes workshop programs in English and Chinese). New national urban road specifications and selected World Bank cases were distributed in advance of the workshop.

5. Seven DLCs and 211 participants attended the workshop. Due to the national government’s policy to reduce poverty, many DLC staff members and participants who had registered for the workshop earlier in the year were requested to monitor the progress of poverty reduction programs at the end of 2017 are were unable to attend.

Key Lessons Learned

a. An urban street is one integral part of the urban corridor, and the urban road corridor is one integral part of the urban road network

b. An urban road is a street serving people, businesses and communities

c. A complete street should consider all activities, not just focus on accommodating vehicular traffic

d. Providing convenient, safe and efficient public transport is a priority of urban street design

e. Necessary steps should be taken to make the road system safer for all types of users

f. Fully considering different needs for traffic service and local amenities in the design

g. Giving different priorities for different types of vehicles based on community characteristics

Feedback from the Participants

6. DLCs collected feedback from participants following the workshop. CDDLN’s evaluation indicates that the quality of presentations and format of the workshop were both highly rated. The overall rating for the workshop was 4.8 out of a possible score of 5.0. Many DLCs indicated that they would like to have workshops throughout the year or have at least two workshops per year instead of one, and several want to use the presentations from this workshop in their normal capacity building programs.

7. Suggestions for further improvements from participants include the following:

·Present more cases from the western region;

·Make this course part of a regular training;

·More than one workshop should be offered per year that addresses current urban development challenges such as this workshop did; and

·E-learning program should be developed to allow ongoing learning and discussions among the participants.