Thursday, April 15, 2010

Too Many Cars

Shenzhen Daily ran a couple interesting articles about the city's traffic today. The first was about the growing concern about traffic and how residents are overly-optimistic because the traffic is better than in Beijing and Shanghai. I'll admit that Shenzhen's traffic is much lighter than Beijing's, but it's still pretty bad.

The article claims that there are now 1.5 million registered vehicles in Shenzhen--this figure doesn't include the electric bikes, small motorized carts, and cars with fake license plates. The one problem I have with the article is that unlike past articles it doesn't mention anything about the Special Economic Zone and the rest of Shenzhen--usually such articles only focus on the Special Economic Zone (Does anyone know the area of the entire city? Is it more than 2000sq. km.?) Also, the last time I read an article like this it separated the numbers between private vehicles and taxis and buses. From what I remember about a previous article a couple years ago, 1.5 million sounds like the number for private vehicles.

Although the roads will supposedly reach maximum capacity with 2 million cars in 2012, the city is still working to extend the subway system. Unfortunately, as I found out from my students, drivers in Shenzhen are unlikely to forgo driving for the convenience of mass transit (it's all about face).

The other article was about a family suing the city police for negligence that caused the death of two people who were hit by a bus that drove through the highway median to avoid debris on the road. The problem with this accusation is that there are very few traffic cops on highways in China--they mostly stay at check-points along the roads (no speed traps like we have around here). I'm not sure what a reasonable amount of time is to remove a 22-ton piece of steel from the roadway, or if the police are responsible for its removal. 

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