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Surprised? Beijing Crowned Most Congested City In China

Posted: 12/29/2014 11:00 am

Based on the most recent quarterly traffic report, Beijing has officially surpassed Shanghai as the most congested city in China. The average daily congestion time has increased 25 minutes since 2012, to one hour 55 minutes.

AutoNavi, a leading navigation service provider, reported that Beijing’s delay index was 1.74 during regular hours, and 2.12 during peak periods. An index reading of 2.0 means that you spend twice as much time in transit than you would otherwise. The index is based on data collected from 300 million devices installed in Chinese taxis and vehicles that record a vehicle’s speed, location and driving direction.

Frequent rain and smog were also cited as contributing to the city’s traffic problem, especially during the September school season.

The capital’s traffic gridlock has become so bad that many residents have dubbed it “Shoudu” (首堵), or primary congestion in English, which sounds like capital in Chinese. According to China Daily, the implications are more than simply an inconvenience: congestion costs Beijing approximately RMB 70 billion ($11.24 billion) per year, of which 80% is attributed to lost productivity, 10% to gas expenses, and 10% to environmental degradation.

According to Shenzhen News, the other cities on the top 10 list are Hangzhou, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Dalian, Jinan, Shenyang, Wenzhou, Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. Shenzhen ranked 12th on the list, with a congestion delay index of 1.97 during peak periods.

As for Beijing, officials are weighing different options to curb the city’s traffic problem, including imposing traffic congestion fees on private cars to encourage more drivers to use public transportation.

Photos: China Travel



Mainlanders Perplexed by Polite Traffic Etiquette in Macau

Posted: 12/23/2014 4:02 pm

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficYou wouldn’t think that a story about drivers voluntarily stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks and pedestrians patiently waiting at traffic lights would be news, but in China, it is.

For the uninitiated, traffic in mainland China is not about yielding to others. Instead, the “right of way” is something given to whomever can get there first. Chinese roads are treacherous, as both aggressive driving and jaywalking are common.

That’s why this CCTV report, which was about Macau, has attracted so much attention.

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficChinese people have long said that the aggressiveness on the roads is cultural, and how Chinese people get things done in time. The fact the politeness happened in Macau – a Chinese territory filled with Chinese residents – was perplexing.

Many commentators scoffed at the Macau example, saying it wouldn’t work in the mainland:

If it was like this on the mainland… when going to work in the morning, you’d wait until it turned dark before you were able to pass the pedestrian crossing.

If it was like this on the mainland, drivers would not be able to move…

Actually, it’s like this everywhere outside of China: cars will all stop for people! They’ll willingly brake and let you (pedestrians) go first! However, the problem is that there are few foreigners (in China)!!
Have you ever considered all the cars in line that are held up when the car in front stops for a pedestrian in China? What’s more, are you able to stop for all the pedestrians here?

macau pedestrian crossing

Idiot. How many people are there in Macau versus how many people in mainland China? Complying to these terms would mean heavy traffic congestion.

This works as long as the population is low. To institute this on the mainland would to cause a traffic jam that would be backed up right to the base of the Great Wall of China.

It’s not that they can’t learn. With so many people in China, there’s no way to let them go (ahead).

If you read other comments, you’ll see that the problem isn’t too many people, but the pedestrians themselves:

It’s not that they won’t learn (to follow the Macau custom), it’s that mainland Chinese pedestrians don’t have the ability to see while drivers wait at intersections (for them). Don’t think about trying to trying to take the car out for a drive in the morning. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

So many people… when witnessing the morning and evening rush hour… (a legion that is) simply without end. 

On the other hand, some say that it is the drivers that are causing the problem:

I have personally experienced the pedestrian crosswalks in Macau! Everyday while going to work an electric scooter or two nearly collides with me. You’re taking your life in your own hands when commuting to work or back home.

Others say the discrepancy is because Macau follows laws:

According to traffic rules, Macau drivers have it very different than mainland drivers. Drivers must completely stop for pedestrians at a pedestrian crosswalk, or when pedestrians have the green light. As they must wait until pedestrians are one meter away from their cars before driving off, drivers can not transgress upon the safety of pedestrians. On the other hand, people who cross against red lights will still be dealt with under the law if they are hit.

Harsh penalties will instill good habits. (Bad driving is a sign of the) unresigned determination that typifies all mainlanders located up until the Yellow River.

Before we write off the entire mainland, many pointed out that fellow tourist town Hangzhou has drivers that are similarly courteous to those in Macau:

It’s like this in Hangzhou, too.

Hangzhou is able to do this, though there are pedestrians that cross when the light is red.

I’ve stayed in Hangzhou for an extended time. Hangzhou drivers will stop for pedestrians at crosswalks!

macau pedestrian crossing And a few more:

The normal compliance of traffic rules has become a system of learning by example.]

One country, two systems…

No traffic lights! Either (you’re a pedestrian) that gets run over by a car, or (a driver) that gets swindled! (implying a use of the “broken vase” trick)

Macau is rich, but what does the mainland have? A Macau passport has all types of visa exemptions, but what (benefits) does a mainland visa have?

One more thing Macau has are traffic-awareness programs that promote safety at pedestrian crossings. If mainland China wants to follow Macau’s example, they’ll need to hire these guys, and their costumes.

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficPhotos: aomenshizheng, macaocp, CCTV


China Marks International Car Free Day With Massive Traffic Jams

Posted: 09/23/2014 5:07 pm

car free day international China cities traffic jam

China has a strange way of celebrating Car Free Day.

Yesterday was the day people were supposed to ride public transit or bicycle to their destination, but instead major cities in China saw huge traffic jams. The worst were in Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, and Zhengzhou, reports CCTV.

These photographs show traffic around China yesterday during Car Free Day. Organizers of the annual event say the slogan is “our streets, our choice”. It looks like Chinese city dwellers have definitely made theirs.

car free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jamcar free day international China cities traffic jam

It’s not all bad, though. In a sign of development, Chinese people have finally realized the dream of complaining about traffic while sitting idle behind the wheel. 

Photos: CCTV,


The Days This Month When Beijing Traffic Will Become Downright Awful

Posted: 09/2/2014 1:00 pm

beijing traffic jam gridlockLong ago, benevolent leaders in China would inform their subjects of which days of the year were optimal for sowing seeds and harvesting crops. That tradition continues in 2014, but the focus has changed to something much more modern: now leaders are informing citizens which days to avoid Beijing traffic.

While the capital is already infamous for its traffic congestion, September is expected to be absolute worst month due to the Mid-Autumn Festival, National Day, the beginning of the school year, fall promotions in malls, and visiting relatives.

In fact, the Beijing Municipal Commission on Transport can even pinpoint particular days to avoid. They are September 4, 5, 15, 22, 26 and 28, 29 and 30.

To try to combat the girdlock, local authorities will be trying a bunch of different strategies including launching a Public Transportation Promotion Week, No Car Days, new private bus lines, and shortening the length between subway cars to just three minutes on Beijing Metro Line 6 between 5pm and 7pm,

[h/t WSJ China Real Time]

Photo: etu6


[Photos] Record-Breaking Holiday Crowds In Guangdong

Posted: 06/3/2014 3:46 pm

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsDid you spend this past Dragon Boat holiday festival at home, doing nothing? Well, it wasn’t entirely spent in vain because you were in fact doing something—avoiding the huge crowds that clogged transportation routes and tourist destinations throughout Guangdong.

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsShenzhen traffic police reported that traffic for access routes to Daxiao Meisha and Dapeng were congested with “rush hour conditions” for ten hours from June 1 until yesterday morning. 256,000 cars were said to have been involved in a traffic jam 14 kilometers long.

720,000 commuters took the Guangzhou Metro on June 2, a 15% rise from last year. May 31 was also a traffic heavy day with 650,000 commuters.

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

But getting there is only half the fun; just ask the record-breaking 16,000 visitors that descended upon Dameisha Seaside Public Park. The only reason so many people would choose to crowd together so densely must be because they obviously enjoy each other’s company, like so:dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

All of this price came at a cost, however. A closer look at the swarms of holiday-goers revealed a grubbier side:dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

However, crowds don’t always have negative connotations, especially when everyone’s favorite endangered species-a la commodity of cuteness made a mass appearance at the Canton Tower in Guangzhou:canton tower panda canton tower panda

Oh, endangered panda: you’ll never over-populate us with the cuddleness you provide!

Photo: Shenzhen Evening Report via Weibo (2), China Daily via Weibo, Shenzhen Traffic Police via Weibo, China Guangzhou Information Dissemintation via Weibo, Guangzhou Daily via Weibo


Shenzhen Ambulances Can Get Video Evidence If You Block Their Way

Posted: 05/21/2014 2:05 pm

shenzhen ambulance blockShenzhen ambulances have been mounted with dashboard video cameras to help collect evidence to prosecute drivers that obstruct their path, reports Shenzhen Evening News.

Starting May 19, a initiative had begun to penalize any driver that blocks the passage of an emergency vehicle in Shenzhen with fines of RMB 300 and three points deducted from their driver’s license. Yesterday, eight drivers were caught and fined for obstructing ambulances.

In similar fashion, a rear-mounted camera in the interior of the ambulance will collect video evidence to help settle any confrontations that should arise between patients and paramedics.

Previous cases of ambulance obstruction as well as assault on medical staff have been dismissed as no video evidence was collected.

Chen, a veteran ambulance driver, said that ambulances are normally blocked in Shenzhen:

Over 98% of drivers do not get out of the way for us. There is simply no concept of this in the minds of city residents.

The use of video cameras will also be prominently used in an online traffic monitoring system set to debut in Shenzhen next year.

Users will be able to access traffic conditions throughout the city updated every five minutes and be able to plan necessary detours, reports the Shenzhen Standard. Traffic will graded on a scale from one to five. GPS tracking devices in taxis will aid in determining the volume of traffic.

Photo: iFeng


Big Crowds Expected at Border Crossings, Metro to Run Late, and More Transport News

Posted: 04/29/2014 3:46 pm

labor day holidayThe Labor Day Holiday will take place from May 1-3, and here’s a round-up of the various transportation news that should help you along your way:

  • Crossing the border into Hong Kong? Peak hours everyday take place between 8:30 and 11am, and 7 and 10pm, so arrive at another time or be prepared to line up.
  • Both the Shenzhen Metro will run late on Thursday until 12am midnight, while the Guangzhou Metro will extend operations by one hour.
  • The Shenzhen Railway Station will run additional trains: there will be an extra train to Shaoguan on Wednesday and Thursday, and an extra train to Yueyang on Wednesday and Friday.
  • Provincial highways will be toll-free for the duration of the holiday.
  • A discount is being offered on non-peak flights for the holidays. For example, the lowest priced flight of Singapore Air from May 1 to July 12 is 1200 yuan.
  • The holiday return peak time will be from 10am-10pm on Saturday. Expect us to publish photos of crazy line-ups and queues from this time period next week.

Remember: it’s back to work on Sunday, May 4 for a six day work week from May 4-9.

Photo: China News


Guangzhou Protest Atop Traffic Sign Quelled by Mysterious Man

Posted: 04/10/2014 4:12 pm

guangzhou protestor sign yuexiu district

If you were stuck in traffic in around the Yuexiu District of Guangzhou yesterday, then you should know there’s a perfectly good reason for it: someone has a grievance with their village council, and you need to be inconvenienced because of it.

On the morning of April 9 at around 8am, a man later identified as Mr Liang climbed up a traffic sign at Xiaobei Road and North Military Drill Road. Dressed in red and wearing a hat, the man was brandishing a metal rod and a drink, as though he had planned to be up there for a long time.

Whenever police or firefighters would draw near, Liang would brandish his metal rod to force his back, reported Nandu. Liang’s actions had drawn a lot of attention and caused a huge backup of traffic in the area, especially with ongoing construction in the area.

It was finally at around 11:14am when an unidentified man dressed in blue managed to get past the police cordon and climb up the traffic sign to join Liang. Perhaps a soldier out of uniform or Jack Reacher on his Asia tour, the unidentified man in blue was able to quickly and easily subdue and disarm Liang.

Pictures show a hand-to-hand confrontation worthy of any action movie climax:

guangzhou protestor sign yuexiu districtguangzhou protestor sign yuexiu districtguangzhou protestor sign yuexiu district

After being subdued by the man in blue, firefighters would use a cherry picker to lower the two men down to the ground.

The man in red was immediately arrested and identified as Mr Liang, 41, from Huadu, Guangzhou. His family is said to have an unresolved grievance with his local village committee, and has taken his protest to the provincial capital. Liang had previously inconvenienced commuters by climbing signs and protesting at Dongfeng Road and Jiangwan Daqiao.

After performing his civic duty, the mysterious man in blue disappeared as swiftly as he appeared, not even leaving behind his name, possibly to reappear wherever protesters may cause face-losing incidents.

Photos: Nandu


Guangzhou plans to narrow motor vehicle lanes to increase capacity

Posted: 05/10/2012 7:00 am

Guangzhou City Construction Committee is mulling narrowing the width of vehicle lanes and increasing their number to decrease traffic congestion, South Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

It is said that in the early days of Guangzhou’s road construction, lanes on main roads were 3.75m wide, but on roads built more recently the lanes are 3.5m.

“The plan can work if lanes on main roads are narrowed from 3.75m to 3.25m and the width of greenbelts, isolation strips and sidewalks are adjusted” said Zeng ying, an engineer who was part of the investigation.

He said Guangzhou traffic police suggested narrowing the width of lanes from 3.75 to 3.25 in 2009, but the proposal was not accepted because the national standard for the width of a lane on a main road was 3.5m at that time.


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