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At least a couple of times, I have written about the terrible traffic problems here in China. Now there is a story about just how bad it can get.

Triggered by road construction, the snarl-up began 10 days ago and was 100 kilometers (60 miles) long at one point. Reaching almost to the outskirts of Beijing, traffic still creeps along in fits and starts, and the crisis could last for another three weeks, authorities say.

In this instance, most of the traffic is trucks rather than passenger cars. That means resources for production are being delayed for very long periods. Some are transporting food that is rotting and will have to be trashed.

The article does mention some small measures sometimes being taken to reduce traffic. In Inner Mongolia drivers are only allowed to drive every other day, based on the license plate number being odd or even.

The tone of the article is that this is a natural result of China’s strong economic growth. I am trying to think this through, but it seems to me that proper planning and design should allow us to avoid such problems.

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