Beijing Floats Proposals to Ease Notorious Traffic Jams
VOA Breaking News (Voice of America)
December 14, 2010 at 11:30 am
Beijing officials are inviting public comment on a number of proposals to ease the Chinese capital's notorious traffic congestion.
Among the more citizen-friendly suggestions is a proposal to cap the number of government cars at the current 700,000.
Other ideas posted on a government website and published in state media Tuesday include improved public transit, faster road construction, and steps to encourage people to live closer to where they work. Some of the more innovative ideas call for public bicycles and fees for driving in certain areas.
Beijing has been described as the world's most congested city. Rapidly rising incomes have contributed to an explosion of auto registrations, which now stand at 4.7 million compared to just 2.6 million in 2005. An average of 2,000 new cars are registered in Beijing every day.
Registrations surged to 20,000 in the first week of December as many citizens purchased cars fearing the new proposals would be harsher. There had been rumors that new license tags would be severely restricted or made prohibitively expensive.
The automobile boom, which has made China the world's largest auto market, has led to some memorable traffic jams.
One such tie-up in August extended along a 100-kilometer stretch of highway outside Beijing and lasted for nine days.
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