A ten-day traffic jam stretching more than 60 miles outside of Beijing, China is a nightmare – a nightmare for those in their cars, for the Chinese government, and for its citizens. The jam, noted as the longest in history, formed on August 14 and has caused some drivers to be stuck on the road for six days.
According to The Hindu,
The number of vehicles in Beijing has increased by 1,900 a day on average in the first six months of this year, officials said at a recent transportation seminar. Beijing, like many of China’s big cities, has invested heavily on widening roads, building towering flyovers and expanding its subway system. It is, however, still struggling to keep pace with the surge of new vehicles. China, with its fast-expanding middle-class, this year, overtook the United States to become the world’s biggest car market. In Beijing alone, a city of 20 million, the total number of vehicles is expected to hit 7 million by 2015. The city’s roads can accommodate 6.7 million vehicles…To ease the burden on the roads, the government is planning to invest 331.2 billion Yuan ($ 49.4 billion) in the next five years to expand its subway system by 850 km and increase the usage of public transport to 40 per cent.
Hopefully, China’s efforts include bike infrastructure and increasing the bike-mode share, in addition to expanding its public transportation system. Similar problems are popping up in countries near and far. Click here for a slide show of 12 of the world’s most high traffic areas.
Similar recurring nightmares (albeit not as long as Beijing’s) are clogging our own backyards. Next time, instead of sitting idle in your car for two hours on you way to work and for two hours on the way back, ride your bike. Worst case scenario, it will take you the same amount of time as when you sat in traffic. However, when you bike commute you don’t subject yourself to the frustration of going nowhere and annoying radio morning shows. You feel refreshed and not the least bit irritated from the time you wasted sitting in traffic – because you didn’t!
In addition to biking your work commute and errands, take action and protect vital bicycle funding in your community. The more citizens on bikes, the less traffic and the happier we will all be.
The League is working to build a Bicycle Friendly America. Get involved, and enjoy the ride.
League Director of Communications
Cahill joined the League in December 2008 and has a BA in Media Communications with a concentration in Italian Studies from the College of Charleston.