GIS-based routing system is aimed at promoting the wider use of bicycles, increasing the development of the local bicycle industry and boosting the production value of green economy
TAIPEI, Taiwan– Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has been promoting the use of vehicles using clean energies or causing a lower level of pollution, including electricity-powered buses, liquefied natural gas (LNG) cars, hybrid vehicles, dual-fuel vehicles and electricity-powered bicycles.
"Only then can we achieve a win-win situation for economy and the environment"
"Everyone should save energy and reduce carbon emissions in their daily lives. One can make a contribution to the sustainability of the environment by using eco-friendly vehicles," EPA Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen said.
He also encouraged people to use bicycles, buses, the metro system, trains and the high speed rail more often, or take a walk whenever possible.
The EPA is currently offering a subsidy of NT$3,000 (about US$93) for each purchase of electricity-powered scooters. The measure is in fact an additional incentive as the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau is already providing a subsidy of NT$8,000 to NT$11,000.
In addition, building a Geographic Information System (GIS) for bicycle riders is another key task for the EPA, Shen said. Other government agencies are providing data, such as bike trails’ name, longitude and latitude, length, nearby tourist attractions, hostels and stores, to the EPA to help complete the system, he added.
According to Shen, the GIS-based routing system is aimed at promoting the wider use of bicycles, increasing the development of the local bicycle industry and boosting the production value of green economy.
At present, the EPA website is showing graphics and images of bike trails at a combined length of 281 kilometers on the Taiwan island and outlying islets, Shen said, noting that the data is being updated every quarter of the year.
For those cities and counties that have yet to set up a bike trail network, the EPA can provide basic design standards.
Shen stressed that such a move is designed to help prevent the trails from damaging the environment and minimize the possibility of leaving the trails unused. "Only then can we achieve a win-win situation for economy and the environment," he said.
The EPA has also planted trees along the trails to help reduce pollution caused by motorists and motorcyclists. As many other government authorities are pushing for similar projects on the establishment of bike trails, the EPA will follow a legislative resolution not to fund local governments in building bike trails from 2011.
According to EPA figures, if the number of low-carbon vehicles increases to account for 5 percent of the total number of cars in Taiwan, 198,952 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated, while 4,684 tonnes of air pollution could be reduced.
The EPA also estimates that if the use of low carbon fuel vehicles rises to make up 2 percent of the total vehicle use countrywide, 129,888 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced, while 249.48 tonnes of air pollution could also be reduced.