The document highlights that “in order to promote the efficiency, expand the functions and boost the development of transportation, and in line with the general trend to make transportation more digital, interconnected and intelligent, we need to facilitate the digital transformation and intelligent upgrading of transportation infrastructure driven by technological innovation; we also need to build new transportation infrastructure that is convenient, smooth, economic, efficient, green, intensive, intelligent, advanced, safe and reliable”.
The document outlines five key development goals to be achieved by 2035:
- Thorough improvement of the ability of transportation infrastructure to perceive, analyse, manage and provide services accurately;
- Efficient control over the energy consumption levels for the construction and operation of infrastructure;
- Comprehensive coverage of ubiquitous sensing facilities, advanced transmission networks, and Beidou Space & Time information services in the field of transportation;
- Basic establishment of industrial data centres and network security systems;
- Gradual application of intelligent trains, self-driving vehicles and intelligent ships.
To achieve these goals, the document proposes 14 main tasks, which can be grouped under three main categories:
- Build intelligent transportation system (ITS) infrastructure that is integrated and efficient. Such infrastructure should be formed by smart highways, smart railways, smart waterways, smart ports, smart civil aviation, smart postal services, smart hubs, as well as by the application of new materials and new energy – thus being fully and comprehensively enabled by advanced information technology.
- Facilitate the construction of information infrastructure, mainly by supporting relevant departments in promoting the application of advanced technologies such as 5G, the Beidou system and remote sensing satellites, cybersecurity, data centres and artificial intelligence (e.g. autonomous driving).
- Improve industrial innovative infrastructure, mainly by supporting capacity-building through R&D of technology, such as through laboratories and long-term performance monitoring networks for infrastructure.
The document positions the improvement of standards and specifications as a crucial means to accomplish the goals. Specifically, the document proposes that “we need to build a standard system that suits the construction of new transportation infrastructure, we need to step up the supply of standards in key areas, we need to develop key standards and basic standards separately, and we need to transfer pilot testing results into standards in a timely manner, with the aim to effectively guide engineering and construction. Furthermore, we need to accelerate the improvement of standards and specifications for communication networks, for the Beidou system, for environmental perception, for traffic guidance and management, for Building Information Modelling (BIM), and for data integration; we also need to facilitate the construction of an infrastructure specification system that can be applied to autonomous driving, automated terminals and unmanned delivery. In addition, mechanisms for the internationalisation of standards, for the joint development of standards by the government and enterprises, and for dynamic adjustment, should also be established”.
The construction of new infrastructure is one of the key policies issued by China in 2020. As a type of core infrastructure supporting national economic development, transportation is one of the top priorities for the construction of new infrastructure. The newly-published Guiding Opinions, therefore, represent a crucial document for implementing the construction of new infrastructure in the field of transportation, aimed at guiding the technological and industrial development of transportation and relevant standardisation work over the next 15 years.