As the Chinese economy has brought millions of its citizens into the middle class, car sales have boomed in recent years. All those cars brought traffic congestion, prompting municipal authorities in Bejing to implement a series of policy changes aimed at curbing auto usage. Unforeseen results followed. According to this New York Times article, Guangzhuou, a city of more than 10 million, planned ahead and has been able to take a different approach:
“Gridlock is not yet a crippling problem in Guangzhou, or in many smaller cities across the country. City leaders are leery of discouraging car sales.
“At the current time, Guangzhou does not have plans to follow Beijing’s new limit on the issuance of car license plates in 2011,” said Chen Haotian, a vice director of the city’s powerful Development and Reform Commission. “Our city has a very good subway system, which should help to alleviate big traffic jams.”
Guangzhou had severe traffic jams a decade ago, but moved more quickly than Beijing to build a subway network that opens 30 kilometers, or 20 miles, of new lines each year. Traffic flows more smoothly in the city than in Beijing, although Guangzhou still had to impose restrictions on who could drive, based on license plate numbers, during the Asian Games, which just ended.”
As shown in the video below, Guangzhou’s balanced, multimodal transportation system moves the masses efficiently by bus, train, bike and automobile.