Subway Construction to Solve Traffic Issue

The life of a 20-year-old Shanghai girl was cut short last week when she was shoved off a subway platform into the path of an oncoming train by the crowd rushing home.

The accident raised concern among authorities in major Chinese cities that either have subways in operation or are considering building an underground system to ease road traffic.

"Today's subways are as crowded as buses used to be in the late1980s," said Cui Mingdong, an engineer in Shanghai.

Shanghai's two subway routes carry 700,000 passengers daily. Fast and efficient means of transportation near residential areas have long been a selling point for real estate agents. But now the subway system is creaking under the pressure.

Some especially annoying passenger habits such as hustling for seats or elbowing others out of the way have caused the situation to deteriorate.

The same problems are found also in Beijing, home of China's first subway system.

During the one-week holiday starting on October 1, China's National Day, Beijing's subway carried 12 million passengers, a record high volume compared with the city's 13 million population.

To address the bottlenecks that are occurring regularly, the Chinese government is determined to spend more on subway construction.

Shanghai has announced its plan to expand its subway system by building 16 new routes, while Beijing plans to extend its subway from the present 54 kilometers to 600 kilometers.

Tianjin, a port city in the north and the second Chinese city to build a subway, plans to invest 6.9 billion yuan (US$830 million) for an additional 26-kilometer underground railway, which is due to be completed by 2005.

Guangzhou, with two existing subway routes running 16 kilometers, is set to complete a third route by 2005.

Meanwhile, many other Chinese cities, including Wuhan, Nanjing and Chengdu, have started building subways to meet the growing demand of urbanization.

Urban construction experts hope that these cities, having carefully measured the traffic flow, will incorporate safety and comfort factors into their design plans.

( December 15, 2001)

In This Series

Beijing Municipality Invites Bid for Urban Railway Network Redesign

Nanjing to Build Subway No.2 Line

Subway Construction in Beijing Gets Canadian Fund

Large Cities Eye Subways, Light Rail



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