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The reasons and solutions of congestion in urban areas

lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
It is undoubtly the case that the urban areas around the world increasingly suffer from the congestion. In this essay, I examine the reasons and suggest some practical policies the authorities could implement to reduce the levels of the traffic in our cities.

The first step is to understand why the traffic has increased in towns and cities. Broadly speaking, there are three main reasons for this trend. One is that cars have become more afforable for the avarage consumer and they are no longer a luxury item, but something that more families expect to own. A second reason is that the public transport has increasingly become more unrelaible in recent years, not least because the bus or train services have reduced because of the difficulty in funding them. The third reason is that society has in general become more mobile and this means more people are prepared to commute to work by car than they were before.

There is almost certainly no one solution for this problem given the complexity of its causes. However, one option has to be to improve the realiablity of public transport to encourage people to take the bus or the train rather than get in the car. It would also be possible to discourage people from driving to work by car by introducing special tariffs for using the roads, especially during peak periods. A sucessful example of this is the congestion charge scheme in London which has increasingly reduced the levels of traffic in the inner city areas.

In conclusion, there are a variety of factors that have led to rising the levels of traffic in our cities. While it may not be possible to find a complete solution, any action probably involve encouraging greater use of public transport and making it more expensive for the motorist to drive in urban areas.
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Comments

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Car sharing might be a good way to reduce the number of cars on the road. Also staggering working hours can help avoid peak times when everyone is on the road at the same time. In some cities, the odd number licence plates are not allowed on the roads on one day, with the even number plate numbers being able to drive, taking turns so only half the cars can use the roads on any one day.

    I like the occasional 'car-free' days when no cars are allowed at least in parts of the city @lisa.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Car sharing is famous in some big cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and so on, but in my hometown it does not have enough cars to share, the total number is 100 pieces, which is far away to meet the requirement of the citizens. And there are some new problems for car sharing, such as the limited destinations, fees and so on. Encouraging the development of public transport is a fabulous idea, in my hometown , during the forbidden car days, the bus is free. Hope one day, we can work in our home instead of go to company.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    In France there is an organisation called Blar-Bla Cars where people who want to car share can offer their services if they want passengers, setting a price that you can see on a phone app. You book the place and it is paid by card, so no cash exchanges hands. But like you say @lisa, it is only suitable where there are lots of people driving to lots of places. I used it once to go to and from Marseille, a big city about two hours drive away. It cost about 14€ instead of the train fare of 50€. But I think the bus is about the same price as car sharing.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    In the big cities of China, there are lots of such kind of car sharing, usually it is cheaper than the taxi, but more expensive than bus, I think. Once my friend and I took car sharing to the city, we are living in the countryside. That is the unique time I paid the driver by cash directly, instead of pay the money to car sharing app, because usually we pay the money to car sharing app instead of the driver.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I'm not sure if this car sharing system exists in the UK @lisa. Public transport here is very expensive.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge Before 2012, the public transport of Beijing , subway and bus, are very cheap, if I have time, I just need two RMB to spend the whole day in the subway, which means I can go anywhere as I like during the whole day except the airport. And most of ticket price of bus is just 0.4RMB, the most expensive bus I took was two RMB , if I remembered clearly. But now the prices are more expensive than before.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I think the very minimum fare in London these days is £3.00 @lisa or around 26 Yuan.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge I think it is a bit expensive in London, but the income of people living in London is much more than people in Beijing, I think. The average salary of people living in Beijing is 10,000Yuan or more than 10,000Yuan, but actually they can get 8000Yuan or 9000Yuan every month, because they must pay the social insurance. The rent is very expensive in Beijing in recent years, and it will go up as the time going.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    You're being very British @lisa. Understatement of the year! Britain is very expensive but London is extortionately so. Salaries don't keep up with the high prices in the capital so it is very difficult for workers who don't have good salaries to afford to live there. The value of the pound has decreased some 15% in the last year with Brexit, so imports are more expensive now too.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Thank you @mheredge . Maybe we are different from the appearances, but the same problems we are facing in both China and the UK.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I have seen atrocious congestion in most of the world's big cities @lisa. I think Thimphu in Bhutan is the only capital city without traffic lights but it is a country with only about 700,000 people.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    There are more than 10 000 000 people in Beijing, because goverment office can only count the people who have been registered, in fact there are lots of people are mobile are unregistered. There is atrocious congestions every Monday and Friday in Beijing, some people have to get off the bus and walk on the street. :'( @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I thought there are around double that number in Beijing and 25 million in Shanghai @lisa. London has around 11 million people living there with at least an additional million in the city every day, commuting in from the surrounding area.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Mentioned population of Beijing, there is an activity which is held by government in Beijing recently, maybe you can google it. Squadron people have been forcing to leave Beijing and go back to their hometown, perhaps because they have not registered or they do not have formal job. Informal jobs mean their workplaces are roamly, but these jobs bring lots of convinences for common life. Who knows, maybe we can get the positive impacts after 20 years or 5 years, I hope, but now only negative impacts have been seen. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    In general it's very difficult to get people to return to where they have left @lisa unless there are jobs to go back to. Most people are attracted to the big cities in the hope of better opportunities. It's the same problem the world over.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    In my opinion, the local government or councils should pay more attention to attract those elites or university graduates to be back to their hometown, as knowledge is power in some aspects. @mheredge People prefer to live in big cities because there are more opportunities, welfare, and other pubilic resources.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Brain drain is a problem everywhere @lisa. I'm not sure how it can be solved.

    The Christmas week before New Year has been nice and quiet with less traffic and not so many people travelling in the Tube. Next week everything will return to normal. I'm glad I'm escaping London tomorrow!
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    There are kinds of methods trying to attarct elites amongst Chinese provinces, such as housing subsidies, providing good job vacancies, and other welfares, but usually there is age limitations, which can not be understood by me. For example, the upper limit age for doctors is 40 years old, and for the postgraduates the age should be less 35 years old. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I remember attending a medical conference one time when it was generally agreed that money rarely worked as a strong enough incentive for doctors to go to work in more remote areas @lisa. They usually want to be where the most advanced hospitals are for better training and job opportunities, and if they have children, they usually want to be near where they can send their kids to much better schools than those out in the provinces.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Usually the salaries and welfares are better if people work in rural areas, and usually the jobs relate to doctor, teacher and official jobs in government, in China. @mheredge I read a news a few days ago, it said that an African-British familiy gets a huge amount of subsidy from local counsil because they have seven or nine children, and the local people are agree about that. The whole family do not need to work, and they can get about one million pounds from the government every year. The local council even provide a falt and a car for them! Is this true? If they were in China, there was only one way to live if they did not work and had so many children, that is to be beggers. But I do not think people will be willing to give money to them.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    The story you read @lisa was maybe in one of the newspapers like the Mirror or Sun, which grossly misrepresent things. The family with several children might receive benefits if the parents are out of work, but certainly not a million pounds a year. There is no way they would be provided with a car. If they are lucky, they might have council housing provided, but it is unlikely to be very big, even with that many children. There are a few instances of scroungers, who are using the welfare system to their own advantage but these stories are usually grossly exaggerated and are used to fuel the unfortunate racism and feelings that these Tory papers want to stir up, to give support to cuts in benefits.

    People read stories like this and think that the streets are paved with gold and that the welfare state will take care of them. This is not the reality and in many cases deserving cases don't get the help they need and are left to beg on the streets.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Actually I read this news from one Chinese news app, and I can not check whether it is real or not. But we do think Britishes enjoy better welfare than us from the education background details we get from school. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Beware fake news @lisa! You can check by looking at the UK news about health and education to see the less positive stories. The Guardian and Independent are better than the Mirror, Sun and Daily Mail - tabloids that were very successful in spreading Brexit misinformation.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Mentioned Brexit, how is it going now? @mheredge The news websites you recommended seems a bit difficult for me, because there are lots of words that I do not know the meanings.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I'm not sure anyone is all that sure what is going on about Brexit @lisa, least of all the British government! They seem to be chasing their tails, running around in circles and not making any progress in working out how things will be in not much more than a year when the country will be leaving the EU.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    We do not know anything about the progress of Brexit, but sometimes there is news showing that there are some improved methods about Brexit from government news, as you know, official news but we can not judge whether it is true or not. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I don't think anyone knows as it seems to change every day @lisa. No one seems to have a clue except the business sector which wants as soft a Brexit as possible to protect a bad impact on the economy.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    The exchange rates between pound and other moneys do have huge changes recently. That is one of the impacts of Brexit, I think. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Definitely @lisa. It has been steady for the past couple of months - around 1.12-1.13 but today I noticed it had fallen a little. I will check again tomorrow as I want to transfer some money and it is always a risk that the rate will start dropping again if the talks on Brexit go sour.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    The people who can feel these changes deeply and exactly are residents, I do not think there are great impacts on politicans. @mheredge
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