Continual rainfall paralyzes Beijing traffic

09:22, September 19, 2010      

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Vehicles move slowly on a heavily jammed ring road in Beijing on Friday evening, September 17, 2010. [Photo: Beijing News]

Continual rainfall worsened Beijing's traffic congestion yesterday, further intensifying concerns over the city's already overloaded roads as a result of its expanding population and soaring number of new vehicles, "Beijing News" reports.

Vehicles got stuck on more than 140 roads late Friday in the city's heaviest road congestion since it adopted a restriction in 2008, forbidding drivers from operating their privately owned cars one workday a week based on their license plate numbers.

The congestion yesterday started to dissipate at about 9 p.m.

An electronic map at the city's traffic management center shows most of the roads are hit by congestion. [Photo: Beijing News]

The municipal traffic management department said not only the bad weather, but also a higher number of cars than usual on the roads on Friday evening was to blame for the traffic backups.

Beijing's traffic capacity has continued to diminish compared with the uncontrolled growth of its population and the ever growing number of cars on the roadways.

The city's population hit 18 million in January, while the number of registered vehicles exceeded 4.5 million in September.

Earlier reports had warned that the license number-based driving restriction would be futile in easing traffic jams once the total number of vehicles hit 5 million as expected in early 2011.

The report cited auto industry analyst Jia Xinguang who suggested that the government take measures to limit Beijing's growing population and increase city driving fees to deal with the worsening traffic problem.



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