9 day traffic jam
this article just came up on my home page about a 62 mile backup in traffic in China. not moving in the right direction by trying to build enough roads for all the car traffic
Love the comments
9 days? So what? The Riverside Freeway in southern California has been a parking lot for over twenty YEARS!! Welcome to the industrialized world, China.
reminds me of this douglas adams passage, from the 80s, in a book called last chance to see:
Everyone in China rides bicycles. Private cars are virtually unheard of, so the traffic in Shanghai consists of trolley-buses, taxis, vans, trucks and tidal waves of bicycles. The first time you stand at a major intersection and watch, you are convinced that you are about to witness major carnage. Crowds of bicycles are converging on the intersection from all directions. Trucks and trolley-buses are already barrelling across it. Everyone is ringing a bell or sounding a horn and no one is showing any signs of stopping. At the moment of inevitable impact you close your eyes and wait for the horrendous crunch of mangled metal but, oddly, it never comes.
It seems impossible. You open your eyes. Several dozen bicycles and trucks have all passed straight through each other as if they were merely beams of light.
Next time you keep your eyes open and try to see how the trick’s done; but however closely you watch you can’t untangle the dancing, weaving patterns the bikes make as they seem to pass insubstantially through each other, all ringing their bells.
In the western world, to ring a bell or sound a horn is usually an aggressive thing to do. It carries a warning or an instruction: ‘Get out of the way’, ‘Get a move on’, or `What the hell kind of idiot are you anyway? If you hear a lot of horns blowing in a New York street you know that people are in a dangerous mood.
In China, you gradually realise, the sound means something else entirely. It doesn’t mean, ‘Get out of my way, asshole’, it just means a cheerful ‘Here I am’. Or rather it means, `Here I am here I am here I am here I am here I am…’, because it is continuous.
And with that, the Chinese has become more affluent and have begun emulating the US. “Buy a car” the new cultural revolution cries, and so they have. To the point where they have overwhelmed their infrastructure. Their highway engineers are destroying city blocks and building roads as fast as they can pour concrete, the same thing that happened in America in the 50’s. But with a billion people, the price they will pay will be much higher than we have paid.
Too bad. With all those bicycles not so long ago, they had their chance but blew it.
I heard a thing about this on NPR last night. It’s mostly coal trucks, and they use this road to avoid tolls. Also the biggest problem is that as soon as traffic stops the drivers all go into “traffic jam mode” which means they go to sleep. Waking them all up to get traffic moving turns out to be a huge issue…
Maybe they should try cargo bikes to haul coal?
@jeffinpgh – or trains. Or just Don’t Sleep While Driving, that could be good too.
You know where this is going. Demand for petroleum will soon outstrip the ability of everyone, pumping everywhere, to supply it.
Anyone care to guess when demand, not from us, pushes oil to $100/barrel? $200?
@stu Anyone care to guess when demand, not from us, pushes oil to $100/barrel? $200?
Without us, the demand for oil would be moderate – even with the dramatic increase of Chinese, Indian, and 3rd world demand.
hey, if you look at that link Mick sent (thanks!) and instead go to “per capita”, we’re #23! Individually, the Virgin Islanders are WAY worse than us (#1). Even Canada is worse (#19). (China is #144).
Still, all China has to do is triple it’s overall usage and they’re using what we’re using. That’d be a very tiny per capita increase, given their number of capitas.
I wouldn’t count the people. Count the cars. Count the % increase in cars from year to year. Project that out five, 10, 20 years. Then look at projections for global petroleum output. We are darn close to, if not past, world peak output, so called “peak oil”. Supply notwithstanding, demand will rapidly outstrip it, even if you drill in every sacrosanct spot on the planet.
Truly all hope is lost when a Communist government can’t provide adequate transportation infrastructure. I thought that was one of the few perks? You make the trains run on time, while I let you murder Chairman Meow lolcat tshirt makers.
Iran was rationing gasoline just a few years ago, why can’t big, fat, one baby per family, Communist, Peoples Republic of poorly crafted fine China?
ooo… careful, Communism != Socialism. One is a form of economy, the other is a form of government.
and neither have demonstrated a particular aptitude for supplying necessities for the people who adopt them as policies.
HV, one could also contend that neither has ever been adopted by people as actually implemented policies, but have been ideas used as PR stunts by select portions of the population to acquire power from the otherwise pissed off masses.
ejwme, that is true. the same can be said about capitalism. or indeed, any idealized form of economic or social policy.
(in my opinion, though, the problems of both center on one word: efficiency.)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.