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March 22, 2016

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Number of cars on city’s streets increases to 2.5m

THE number of cars registered in the city rose 13 percent last year to almost 2.5 million, according to a report by the Shanghai Urban-Rural Construction and Transportation Development Research Institute.

The number of cars that are restricted to suburban districts under license plate rules increased by 23 percent to 830,000 in the year, while those with non-local plates rose 24 percent to 1.2 million, it said.

The increase in the total number of cars was the fastest in the “past few years,” it added.

Over the same period, the city’s road network grew by 388 kilometers — or 2.2 percent — to 18,000km.

“The demand and supply could not balance,” Xue Meigeng, director of the institute said, without elaborating.

To relieve congestion, the government tightened controls on cars with license plates issued outside Shanghai on April 15, which lifted the driving speed on elevated ways by 2 to 5 kilometers per hour during peak hours. However, by the end of the year, traffic had slowed again.

“The surge in car numbers offset the effect of the restriction,” Xue said.

The report said that the number of people taking buses and taxis continued to decline last year, down by 4.4 percent and 6 percent respectively, but the number of trips made per day on the subway rose by 8.5 percent to about 8.4 million.

The busiest single day was December 31 when 10.8 million trips were taken.

Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng said on Saturday that the city government “must take strong and effective measures ... to make up for the weaknesses in Shanghai’s transportation.”

He said the five main weaknesses were: frequent congestion on roads, crowded Metro trains during peak hours, low efficiency and transfer problems on the bus network, dead-end roads, and bad transportation order.

The problems are worst in 58 downtown areas, he said.

“To make up for the weakness must be problem-oriented,” the top official said.

“The accountability must be cleared, violations against traffic regulations must be regulated, and regulations must be improved to provide better support for the law enforcement teams,” he added.


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