Traffic Congestion In Shanghai

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Shanghai is one of China’s major cities, located in the middle of China’s east coast, near the mouth of the Yangtze River. While shanghai is a beautiful city with many things to offer, the city also has a few downfalls, one of them being traffic congestion.

Description of the issue

The roads of Shanghai on a daily basis always have lines and lines of cars and buses that are crammed together with virtually no space in between them. During peak hours computers face congested traffic over 15% to 25% of their route. The average vehicle speed on main roads in rush hours in Shanghai is only 15 to 16 kilometres per hour, which not only delays people from getting to where they want to be but also creates road rage which can lead to and does lead to many accidents on the roads.

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Shanghai is the largest city in China, home to more than 26 million people. Because of Shanghai’s rapid economic growth, rapid urbanization has become very much apparent. And as a result of this along with other issues such as poor road design and increase in car ownership, traffic congestion and transportation problems have become a major issue in the city.

As a result of the heavy traffic congestion in Shanghai it has caused a major problem in terms of, increasing noise pollution as well as air pollution. Over 80% of the city’s air pollution results from the heavy backups of traffic and heavy industries, due to this high amount of air pollution, visibility is low and this can cause more accidents on the roads.

Traffic congestion is no doubt an issue in cities all around the world, however Asia has many developing cities where the infrastructure is often too basic to cope with the increasing traffic levels. China, Japan, India and Indonesia, in particular, have faced severe traffic congestion issues in the past and still today, with some of their cities road’s being the worst congested in the world.

The location of Shanghai doesn’t necessarily impact on the issue of traffic congestion, however because Shanghai is located in China and China is naturally a heavily populated country it means that Shanghai is also densely populated. As a result of this the city faces a terrible traffic congestion problem.

Responses to the Issue

Shanghai’s issue of traffic congestion needs to be responded to because it is causing a rise in greenhouse gas emissions and is destroying the air quality around the city. The biggest concerns for people living in the city are no doubt the air pollution produced by the traffic congestion which can cause significant health problems for the residents. Other concerns people might have are that it is causing a lot of noise that can distract residents and there is also a higher risk of road accidents not only for those driving but also for pedestrians.

Individuals in Shanghai have taken it upon themselves to try and reduce the overwhelming traffic congestion issue by doing little things such as taking public transport during rush hour or riding a bike if they are somewhere nearby. Doing this not only reduces the amount of traffic on the roads but also assists people who need to get somewhere quickly and they can’t afford to be sitting in traffic all day. Taxi drivers, not just in Shanghai but all-around China have been picking up more than one passenger at a time during busy hours to ensure they’re not spending hours sitting in traffic with a single fare.

The Chinese government has frantically tried to build new public transportation infrastructures to take some of the traffic away from the roads of the country. In Shanghai the government has thought to elevate ways of transport such as highways and pedestrian walkways, as well as a monorail system which will hopefully save space and make it easier to access different and more remote locations as well as keep the people off the highway. City governments of China have also gone so far as to implement rules such as the “even-odd” rule which stipulates that only cars with even- or odd-numbered license plates can be on the road on any given day. Other Management implications brought on in Shanghai include limiting vehicle use on some roads, one-way systems and segregation of motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Overall, even with the many solutions that people have implicated to lessen traffic congestion in Shanghai, there is still room for improvement. The monorail has somewhat reduced levels of congestion, however the issue of traffic congestion is still very much apparent and there is no doubt there needs to be more focus on achieving this goal.

The solutions frantically being applied to help reduce traffic congestion in Shanghai have in no way had a negative impact on the city other than costs on new infrastructures, however there has not been a massive positive impact on the city either. In 2012 Shanghai ranked 2nd for the most traffic congested cities in China with Beijing taking top spot, however as of right now Shanghai is ranked 9th with a congestion level of 42%. It is all the implications that the government and individuals have been applying to help reduce traffic congestion, such as building more public transportation systems and limiting vehicle use on roads that has led to this positive drop in the ranks. Because there are less cars on the road, air pollution has also decreased as a result of this. Many citizens of shanghai, while they believe the issue has slightly improved are still wanting more to be done to reduce the still high level of congestion that is 42%.

Evaluation of the Responses

The issue of traffic congestion in Shanghai has not yet resolved itself although it has somewhat decreased. This is becoming an ongoing issue and with an average of 45,000 babies born every day in China as well as an increase in people moving to China from other countries, the population of Shanghai is rapidly growing and suggests that traffic congestion in the city will continue to be a pestering problem for many years to come.

There wasn’t much success in the responses as although Shanghai’s traffic congestion level has gone down, it is still at a relatively high 42%. To me this demonstrates how the solutions the government are implicating are not working to the degree that is needed to decrease congestion rates. I also think that the government’s solutions aren’t really short-term goals which means we are not immediately going to see the positive effects straight away. In the long-term I definitely believe that if Shanghai continues what they are doing to reduce traffic congestion, that percentage will slowly dwindle and we will get to see the significant impacts on the city. I think that if the city wants to drop this percentage dramatically and improve the lives of the people living there, the Government needs to start building bigger and wider roads and to create a more efficient way of reducing the traffic they should increase the prices on number plate registration, so that there are less private owned vehicles on the roads which will also contribute to better air quality.


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