Tuesday, August 24, 2010

...and you think Brisbane's traffic is bad....

If you have ever sat in a traffic jam and thought to yourself 'if I got out and walked, I would probably get there quicker!', next time spare a thought for drivers in China heading to Beijing along the Beijing-Tibet expressway.

A 62-mile (100km) traffic standstill on the 'expressway' is now in its ninth day, with individual drivers caught in it for as long as three days.

If ever there were a case for the importance of good urban planning that includes mass transit, this is it.

The cause of the jam (beyond the skyrocketing number of drivers in China) is heavy use of the route by trucks bringing construction supplies into Beijing. The trucks don’t just add to traffic; they also damage the road, necessitating repair crews.

The roadway is also a major artery for transporting produce, coal and other basic supplies into Beijing — meaning that the city’s ill-planned growth could choke off its economy. Drivers stuck in the traffic, according to international reports, are taking it in their stride, but with roadside vendors quadrupling their prices for food and other goods, the prospect of civil unrest looms near.
If the growth of Beijing needs to continue requiring imported material brought along vehicular expressways, perhaps separate routes for industrial traffic should be considered - which could be specially designed for heavy vehicles, eliminating the chance of broken and cracked carriageways.

Additionally, the public transport system should be revisited in relation to its extents and coverage - if people have more options for travel - this kind of situation could be totally avoided.

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