December 20, 2009

Beijing’s Roads Choked By 4 Million Vehicles

The amount of registered vehicles in Beijing hit 4 million last week, state media announced, which means one fourth of the 16 million inhabitants in China's capital are driving, according to AFP.

The amount of capable drivers in the area also reached 5.68 million, Xinhua news agency said Friday, referring to statistics pulled from the municipal government.

Nearly 13.6 million people used public transportation daily, increasing 11.1% from 2008, says the Beijing Public Transport Group.

"Compared with other metropolises in the world, the growth of vehicles in Beijing is dramatic," said Guo Jifu, researcher with the Beijing Municipal Communication Research Center, to Xinhua.

Since 1949, Beijing's amount of vehicles rose from 2,300 to one million in 1997.

In 2008, government vehicles and all private cars were prohibited from Beijing's roads one day a week, according to their license plate number in an attempt to lighten the traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

Beijing's air is highly polluted, and the problem continues to grow as increased demand for private vehicles from its residents rises.

China's total car sales flew past the US for the very first time in January which makes them the world's largest auto market, aided by government attempts to encourage domestic expenditure.

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