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Industry Must Help Reduce China's Traffic Jams

Auto1688.com 2006-12-5 9:32:50
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At the Automotive News China Conference here last month, a World Bank expert talked about the downside of Chinas surging car market. The countrys road and transport infrastructure is overburdened, pollution in the big cities is at unacceptable levels, road deaths are up and average traffic speeds are dropping.

"The development of the automotive industry drives national economic growth," said Zhi Liu, the World Bank regional infrastructure sector coordinator based in Bangkok, Thailand. But he conceded that urban transport problems in China are getting worse and that more work is needed to better manage the process of motorization.

The congested thoroughfares of Beijing certainly bring home the message. The 17-mile drive from the airport to downtown can take from 20 minutes to 2?hours. Pollution is so bad that a few days of tentative, hazy sunshine this month were an unusual weather condition to relish.

Traffic jams are a fact of life in Beijing, and this metropolis is merely joining the worlds other major cities. But Chinas big cities contribute 80 percent of gross domestic product. And the World Banks Zhi estimates that congestion problems could thus reduce the national economy by several percentage points.

Like everywhere else, Chinese authorities will need to use targeted tax policies and strike a difficult balance between road building and the expansion of public transport. Chinas political leaders are beginning to embrace the concept of "sustainable urban transport," Zhi says.

Automakers are doing their bit to reduce pollution. But the industry seems little concerned about congestion. Current and past senior industry executives interviewed earlier this year generally did not feel traffic jams were an issue for them. They said their main purpose was to sell cars.

But the industry should play a more active role in reducing congestion.

With traffic jams now the norm rather than the exception, the fun is going out of driving. But more important, in China, congestion is a health hazard, and its holding back economic growth.
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Source: Automotive News
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When traveling from point A to point B in China's big cities, it's sometimes quicker to get out of the taxi and walk the rest of the way. This is not good for the taxi business, or any other business and it certainly doesn't motivate people to buy cars.

How to maximize the traffic flow at all hours of the day is the job of highway traffic engineers. But if the engineers don't have a car of their own or even a driver's license, it makes it especialy tough to get the job done. Going to work by bus and sitting at a computer all day doing simulations isn't the answer. These guys need to get out, get behind the wheel of a car, and breathe some foul air on the city streets. That in itself can be a motivational factor.

The onus shouldn't only be on the Highway Traffic Engineering Department. It should also be on the automobile manufacturers. Manufacturers can assist with financing and providing a fleet of cars for exclusive use of the engineers who are responsible for improving traffic flow. They can also lend support by opening their test tracks to the traffic authorities. And from now on the traffic engineers that are hired, should live across town from the office so they get a good dose of rush hour traffic.

As Mr. Zhi Liu points out, driving, and riding, should be fun and convenient, not tedious and agonizing.

Streamlining traffic flow is good for everyone's business.
 

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Theres a new road crossing for pedestrians in Qingdao city centre, its a good 35 - 40 metres wide. The red light comes on and all the cars stop, theres a counter on top of the lights showing how much time is remaining until the light goes green again. It seems that there is only 15 seconds to get across - I cant manage it at a decent walking speed so I guess old people are really screwed.

Chinese traffic management in some places, is really, really screwed up.
 

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fightingtorque said:
and it wouldn't do to run - you lose face. important to be cool and make the cars wait - you may have a big car and i'm only on foot, but you're waiting for me!
Definetly - im not a Chinese girl thats going to run stupidly across the road with my arms out like a frustrated chicken. :thumb:
 
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