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China Maps Out Future Road Network
By 2050, China's road network will cover over four million kilometers, compared to the current 1.7 million kilometers, and the quality of road transportation will be on a par with that of developed countries, Vice Minister of Communications Hu Xijie said on Monday.

Hu was outlining the development of China's road transportation network in the first half of the 21st century in his address to the 2002 China Road Transportation Development Forum (CRTDF).

According to Hu, by the middle of the 21st century, China will have implemented a three-step plan to expand the existing road network and to develop a road transportation network emphasizing safety, speed, steady flow of traffic and high efficiency.

According to this plan, by 2010, China's road network will be on a par with its social and economic development, with roads extending to two million kilometers and highways reaching 35,000 kilometers. Also by this date, China will have basically eliminated the traffic jam, and an "intelligent" communications system will be widely applied.

Between 2010 and 2020, China's road network will continue to expand in line with growth of demand, with the network reaching 2.5 million kilometers, including 70,000 kilometers of highways.

The technologies of "intelligent" communications will be present in every aspect of transportation, and the road network will develop according to guidelines in the areas of safety, energy-saving and environmental protection.

From 2020 to the middle of the 21st century, China will improve the quality of its road transportation to that of an average developed country, meeting the needs of public transportation not only in terms of quantity, but also quality. By 2050, the length of the road network will top four million kilometers, with highways exceeding 75,000 kilometers.

At that point, the development of road transportation will proceed harmoniously with resource conservation and environmental concerns, and low-energy, high efficiency vehicles will be widely used.

Hu said that building a market-oriented road transportation system is essential for the implementation of the long-term strategy in China, and the market mechanism should play an important role in use of transportation resources.

China is taking steps to improve the legal framework of the transportation market, said Hu, adding that in order to have rules of the game in the market, China is planning to issue a series of laws and regulations governing road transportation in the coming years.

Meanwhile, many foreign countries have had their road transportation companies developed intensively and incorporated into large-scale groups, said Hu, noting that China will also choose this path in the face of intense international competition.

(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2002)

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