Expert skeptical that capital’s administration relocation plan will cut traffic
The average commute in Beijing ranks the longest among major Chinese cities, CCTV reported on Sunday.
According to big data collected by Baidu Maps, the average commute in Beijing is 18.9 kilometers and takes 50 minutes on the road.
In contrast, Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province features the shortest commute distance and the slowest average commute speed on the list. In Hangzhou, a city popular with tourists, people spend an average of 24 minutes commuting 8.7 kilometers to work, leaving the city at the bottom of the list with a commuting speed of only 21 kilometers per hour.
In terms of overall commuting capacity, Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province tops the list with the highest average commute speed of 27 kilometers per hour, in spite of a second-ranked average commuting distance of 18 kilometers.
The problem of urban traffic has long been a top priority for policymakers in China.
In Beijing, one effort to relieve traffic pressures involves moving some of the capital's administrative offices out of the city center to Tongzhou, one of its outlying satellite towns.
As the scheduled date of the move draws nearer, the relocation plan is attracting increased attention. Beijing's Deputy Mayor Li Shixiang said in December that the development of Tongzhou as the capital's administrative subcenter will be accelerated, and substantial progress should be made in resettling the municipal government's departments there by 2017, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The construction of two intercity railways - one to Tangshan in North China's Hebei Province and one to Binhai New Area in Tianjin - formally commenced on Thursday, the Beijing Times reported on Friday. The two rail lines aim to shorten travel time to and from the capital to less than one hour and are expected to be completed in 2020.
However, Yin Zhi, dean of the Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning and Design Institute of Tsinghua University, is not optimistic about the future outcome of the Beijing government's moves to tackle traffic problems.
Yin said that instead of building more roads and bridges, the capital should focus on changing existing land use patterns to reach the heart of solving the problem.
Under the current land use model and household registration system in China, it is unrealistic to achieve equivalence between the number of employment opportunities and the workforce population in a certain area, Yin told the Global Times.
To practicably improve traffic conditions, the long distances between work and home as well as between home and public services should be shortened, while the equalization of access to basic public services should be promoted, Yin pointed out.