9 day, 60 mile traffic jam

Everybody’s talking about this epic traffic jam on the highway in to Beijing. This almost looks like something out of the Onion:

A nine-day traffic jam in China is now more than 100 kilometres long and could last for weeks, state media reported Monday.

At least some drivers have complained that roadside vendors have increased their prices to take advantage of the traffic jam. One truck driver said he bought instant noodles from one vendor for four times the original price.

Another driver, Wang, told Xinhua he’d been stuck in the traffic jam for three days and two nights.

More at CBC, via Bike Hugger. See also NPR: Nightmarish Nine-Day Traffic Jam: In China, Cars Crawl Along 60-Mile Stretch.

And from the China Global Times:

For drivers, suffering the congestion on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway is nothing new. In a similar scene this July, traffic was also reduced to a crawl for nearly one month.

Traffic authorities were still struggling to cope with days-long congestion on a major national expressway, nine days after traffic slowed to a snail’s pace, and nearby residents are profiting on the latest traffic snarl by overcharging drivers for food.

Cars can be seen in a traffic jam along a main road in central Beijing August 20, 2010. China's price-setting agency is divided over possible changes to the country's pricing mechanism for refined fuel products in a recent review, a Chinese newspaper reported.   REUTERS/David Gray   (CHINA - Tags: TRANSPORT ENERGY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS)

In July, IBM released a study showing that Beijing and Mexico City have the worst traffic in the world, with both scoring a 99 out of 100 on a “commuter pain index.” It’s always reassuring to see transit opponents who’d like to see the United States outdo China for this dubious distinction.

Chinese drivers slowly make their way along a major ring road, which is continuous gridlock, in Beijing on July 5, 2010. Beijing and Mexico City have the worst traffic in the world, as record traffic levels take their toll on people's health, productivity and social life, a study said last week. Both cities scored 99 out of 100 in IBM's commuter pain index, trailed closely by Johannesburg, Moscow and New Delhi.  UPI/Stephen Shaver Photo via Newscom


  1. “Uh, boss, I'm going to be late for work next month, traffic's really bad”. I wonder if there's a picture of the people still riding bikes to work laughing at the people stuck in their cars? I mean, at some point doesn't it make more sense to abandon the car and just walk or get the folding bike out?

  2. “Political Opposition to High Speed Rail is Beyond Stupidity”. True but we prefer to act only after a crisis has developed… then it's too late and too expensive to fix.

  3. If you like irony, there's plenty go round here…less than a generation ago Beijing was bicycle-central and you were likely to be hemmed in on all sides by Flying Pigeons. Everything's moving so rapidly, economic development on FF, I wonder if a mass bike sharing scheme is just around the corner? If China can put in place a mass infrastructure project such as the High Speed Rail network which will 2x capacity by 2012., then a Fast Forward solution to this could be closer than we'd think–bicycles may well make a rapid comeback and it would be well worth seeing how they would go about this…all 'what if' at this stage of course.

  4. …sometimes when someone is hoisted by their own petard & this is such a perfect example, it's hard to feel a lotta empathy…

    …when a society that, as sabinna suggests, was so amazingly bicycle dependent such a short time ago & yet at the same time surrounded with nothing but the worst (best) examples of vehicular traffic patterns from virtually every major city around the world, has the temerity to blindly plunge into the exact same tactical mistake, perhaps even “square2ed” due to that industrial growth rate as well as the huge population, well, what really are we dealing w/ here ???…

    …ignorance, greed, status insecurity, human folly ???…

    …i don't understand how a society that was so controlled for so many years , knowing again from example what lay ahead, wouldn't have the forethought to use a little of that control to ease into the future by informing it's population the reality of what it was about to encounter…

    …but what do i know ???…

    …welcome to the real world, china…thought you had problems before, huh ???…

  5. The highway connecting Santa Cruz to San Jose was closed for five hours last Tuesday when a cabbage truck flipped over on a curve. No shots fired as far as I've heard, though there were plenty of frayed nerves I'm sure.

  6. In the United States, traffic congestion is easing, but that's mostly from reduced economic activity. Fewer people driving to work, fewer deliveries, and less freight on the road.

  7. …at least there's that…

    …& of course, there WILL be a bicycle car on those train systems, ya ???…

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