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Beijing Seeks Experience from Seoul to Solve Traffic Jam

Seoul's method of real-time monitoring of traffic and passenger flow could be employed in Beijing to address its traffic jam, said a visiting Korean official here over the weekends.

As the 2008 Olympic Games drawing near, traffic congestion, Beijing's biggest headache, is gaining widespread attention, with foreign officials and experts contributing ideas constantly during their visits to Beijing.

At Friday's Fifth Korea-China IT Forum, a vice-mayor of Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, who is in charge of information technology, put forth a digital transportation-management system as a possible solution to the problem.

The system, brainchild of Seoul after Korea's co-hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, offers real-time monitoring of the city's public buses. It also provides information such as whereabouts of all the public buses and the passenger flow that can be very helpful for monitors in the control room to better regulate the city's public transportation.

To thin the number of cars, the vice-mayor said Seoul instituted the rule that all cars had to take one day off in a week during the World Cup, and has made it a regular rule on the five working-days of a week since then.

The government of Seoul also sets surveillance cameras on roadsides to see to the implementation of the rule and awards abiding car-owners tax-exemption.

Traffic congestion of Beijing has always been one of the top concerns of the municipal government. At rush hours and on main roads, car usually move at no more than 25 kilometers (about 15 miles) an hour. Daily commuters of the city take an average of 40 to 60 minutes to go to work everyday.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2005)

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