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Heavy Traffic in China

This article from the Economist discusses the causes of the recent rise of traffic accidents in China.  There has been a recent influx of travelers on China’s roads switching their mode of transportation from bicycle to car.  As the country continues to economically develop and more commuters become able to afford automatic vehicles, the roads have become even more crowded than they have been before.  The country’s developing road infrastructure cannot keep up with this increased supply of larger vehicles combined with the already increasing number of drivers in China as the population increases.  All of these factors contribute to heavily congested roads in China, which have become notoriously dangerous for accidents due to the heavy traffic.

In lecture, we discussed traffic flow and how to calculate the Nash Equilibrium population on a set of roads.  If we were to model some of China’s roads here, we would have to not only consider the growing population of China, but also the switch from bicycles to cars as a highly significant factor.  Due to size, there can more bicycles on the road than cars.  And usually, the extra space in a car is being put to waste because carpooling is a rare occurrence in the country.  This leaves the capacity of the roads in China to be relatively small compared to what it was in the past when everyone biked.  Additionally, the flexibility of a bicycle allowed some of the commuters to take off-road shortcuts, meaning that there were additional channels/roads which would disperse the amount of commuters on the main roads, so the roads have become even more crowded now that bikes are being switched for cars.  If road construction is not being done fast enough, perhaps public transportation is the solution.



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September 2014