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Beijing stalled on top of traffic jam list

By Cheng Yingqi  (China Daily)

08:06, November 01, 2012

Passengers transfer between subway lines at Huixinxijie Nankou station in Beijing in the evening rush hour on Wednesday. Kuang Linhua / China Daily

If you want to be on time for an important meeting or a date in a crowded city like Beijing, it's wise to leave home early.

But just how much time do you need to set aside for traffic congestion?

On Wednesday, the sustainable development strategy research group under the Chinese Academy of Sciences published China's New-Urbanization Report 2012, the fourth annual report focusing on development strategies amid the country's fast urbanization.

In the previous report, researchers used mathematical models to figure out the average time people spend going from home to their workplaces.

But the report immediately triggered controversy because researchers did not count the time spent in traffic congestion. Instead, they were mainly concerned with the distances between residential regions and business regions, and the transportation tools people choose.

This time, the report listed anticipated travel time and actual time spent, and ranked cities accordingly.

Average time wasted in traffic by a passenger in one day is 14 minutes in Beijing, 13 minutes in Tangshan and 12 minutes in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Taiyuan and Shijiazhuang, putting these cities at the top of the ranking.

"Traffic congestion in peak hours is a kind of urban disease - as cities expand and people gather into cities, there are serious problems we are facing," said Niu Wenyuan, chief scientist and leader of the sustainable development strategy research group under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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