China puts the squeeze on traffic

Congestion in Beijing is a well-known problem. Wacky measures to tackle traffic in the run up to the Olympics included limiting the entrance of cars into the city according to whether the registration plate was odd or even numbered, so the problem is somewhat endemic.

So a new program has been launched to build 200,000 public parking spaces in the next five-years, with 50,000 of them to be constructed by the end of 2011.

The building of extra parking spaces is aimed at reducing illegal parking, one of the serious traffic violations that Beijing is seeking to combat. In December 2010 it was announced that only 240,000 licence plates will be issued in 2011 in an attempt to lower new car sales by 70 percent. The news took car makers by surprise, claiming that the local car industry will be dealt a serious blow should it come into affect.

‘Definitely this will impact our sales in Beijing next year, But it's hard to say what percentage will be affected specifically. In fact, what worries me more is that other cities will follow Beijing's lead to issue such regulations, and that will have a bigger impact,’ said Chery spokesman Jin Yibo, in December last year.

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