Mega cities are hot-spots with regard to every dimension of sustainable development and there is a special challenge in rapidly developing countries and regions to define environmental sustainability targets that consider the inter-relationship between social, economic and environmental policies. In response to the concern about the sustainable development of mega cities, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) proposed the project METRASYS (Mega Region Transport Systems for China). METRASYS aims at developing sustainable mobility concepts for urban "mega-regions" that form around mega cities in countries with a highly dynamic economic development like China.
China is presently one of the strongest growing economies in the world and in this extremely dynamic process it is facing the challenge to develop solutions for increasing the mobility of people and goods and at the same time accelerating the process towards a modern highly specialised wage-labour economy as well as to fulfil the requirements of sustainable development.
The challenge of implementing a strategy towards sustainable transportation in "mega-regions" will be demonstrated for Jiading District, which is one of the mega cities of tomorrow situated in the northwest of Shanghai Municipality. Jiading's population is expected to grow to 1,200,000 inhabitants by 2010 and together with Shanghai, this metropolitan region will have a total population of about 15 million. Jiading District Government has actively worked for a new Strategic Development Plan, which aims at making Jiading a model area for Shanghai’s suburban development.
Product and service innovations that have proven to be suitable for the study region could hence serve as templates for other developing countries. Therefore, the major challenge of the project is to accompany the process and provide concepts and at a later stage execute pilot projects to develop a sustainable pathway.