Traf­fic gets heav­ier in third of cities; Ji­nan ranks worst

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

One-third of 100 China’s cities faced wors­en­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion in 2016, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by Au­toNavi Soft­ware Co.

In many cases, more cars were to blame. In some cases, as with Ji­nan, cap­i­tal of Shan­dong prov­ince, the most con­gested city, dis­rup­tion caused by ef­forts to im­prove pub­lic trans­porta­tion tem­po­rar­ily wors­ened things.

In the 32 cities where traf­fic wors­ened, it took 1.8 times as long to travel dur­ing rush hours — from 7 to 9amand5­to7pm—asit did dur­ing off-peak hours, the com­pany said.

Aside from the 32 cities that got worse, traf­fic in 36 cities re­mained the same over the pre­vi­ous year, and an­other 32 cities im­proved, the re­port said.

Among China’s larger cities, traf­fic got worse in Bei­jing and Shen­zhen in 2016, while things im­proved in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Bei­jing lost its 2015 po­si­tion as the coun­try’s most con­gested city, and was re­placed by Ji­nan, fol­lowed by Harbin, cap­i­tal of Hei­longjiang prov­ince.

Con­struc­tion on Ji­nan's metro sys­tem and the tem­po­rary dis­rup­tion that has caused, is blamed for the city’s top rank­ing this year, the re­port said.

In Ji­nan, the av­er­age ve­hic­u­lar speed dur­ing rush hours was a slug­gish 19.89 km/h, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Chen Fang, a Ji­nan res­i­dent, said rush hour con­ges­tion is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict.

“With a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and in­creased com­mut­ing dis­tances, I am afraid res­i­dents in the city have to re­gard traf­fic jams as a nor­mal daily event if the road net­work can’t be sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved.”

The poor road net­work in Harbin put the city in the sec­ond-worst spot, the re­port said, adding that poor de­sign is likely to con­tinue to se­verely hin­der trans­porta­tion in the city.

In a sep­a­rate re­cent sur­vey, the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, the coun­try’s top think tank, sug­gested that a more sci­en­tific de­sign of cities’ pub­lic trans­porta­tion net­work is needed.

The sur­vey, con­ducted in 38 ma­jor cities, found the pub­lic less sat­is­fied with pub­lic trans­porta­tion con­di­tions in 2016 than in the pre­vi­ous year.

Liu Zhichang, a re­searcher on eco­nomic and so­cial devel­op­ment at the academy, said that one of the so­lu­tions for megac­i­ties is to shift non­core func­tional zones to sub­ur­ban ar­eas of the city to avoid traf­fic prob­lems caused by the pop­u­la­tion con­cen­tra­tion in the cen­ter of the city.

It is one of the so­lu­tions that Bei­jing is al­ready work­ing to im­ple­ment.

The Au­toNavi re­port, is­sued on Wednesday used de­tailed traf­fic num­bers col­lected through Amap, a pop­u­lar nav­i­ga­tion app, as well as the sta­tis­tics from trans­porta­tion au­thor­i­ties and the data col­lected through Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem de­vices.

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