Howard D. French: A City’s Traffic Plans Are Snarled by China’s Car Culture


From The New York Times, via Shanghai Journal:

As people in this richest of Chinese cities have grown more and more affluent, they have displayed an American-style passion for the automobile. But for Shanghai, as for much of China, getting rich and growing attached to cars have increasingly gone hand in hand, and have produced side effects familiar in cities that have long been addicted to automobiles – from filthy air and stressful, marathon commutes to sharply rising oil consumption.

China accounts for about 12 percent of the world’s energy demand, but its consumption is growing at more than four times the global rate, sending Chinese oil company executives on an increasingly frantic search for overseas supplies. The country’s top environmental officials have warned of ecological and economic doom if China continues to follow this pattern. But in cities like Shanghai, where automobiles account for 70 percent to 80 percent of air pollution, nothing seems capable of stopping, or even slowing, the rapid rise of a car culture.

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