Month-long Traffic Jam Expected in China

The Beijing-Tibet Expressway is currently on day 9 of a 60-mile long traffic jam…. and the gridlock is expected to last a month more, as construction on a parallel roadway continues. (Where’s the Doctor when you need him?)

This is not just slow moving traffic. The roadway is at a standstill, and highway-side markets have sprung up to keep the people trapped in their vehicles fed:

Truck drivers interviewed by Chinese state media said they were forced to buy instant noodles at four times their original price from local residents while they sat for days playing cards or just resting in their vehicles.

Traffic is rapidly becoming a major problem in China — the traffic has a spill-over effect off the highway, as delays in delivery lead to delays in production and manufacturing, not to mention that any perishable goods will be ruined long before the current traffic jam is over — but the government has some creative proposals for how to address the problem. I’m skeptical about whether the Straddling Bus will work as well in practice as it does in theory, but it still looks pretty darn cool:

Proposed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd, the model looks like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 m high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.

-Susan

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