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China’s Chronic Traffic Jams Hurt Government’s Urbanization Efforts

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal

Jan 03, 2014 1:00 pm

Skift Take

At the heart of every city is a detailed and exhaustive transportation system that gets people living within and outside of the city to work everyday. Without that, most cities would cease to function as they’re supposed to.

— Samantha Shankman

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Aly Song  / Reuters

Lines of cars are pictured during a rush hour traffic jam in central Shanghai in this July 11, 2013 file photo. Aly Song / Reuters


To understand true gridlock—and a huge challenge for China’s leaders as they try to move residents from the countryside into cities—take a look at Wuhan.

This inland Chinese city of more than eight million people, famous for its hot weather and spicy noodles, has a traffic problem. A 2011 study by investment bank UBS shows cars chug through the city at an average of 12.7 miles an hour, slower than in New York and Tokyo.

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