This little picture gives us a few ideas about cars in China today. Important if we bear in mind that today is the first day of the future.
The first striking feature of course is the fact that this shows a typical morning on Beijing’s Third Ring Road (third out of a present total of six, each longer and wider than one before it). With now the latest, biggest and newest planned road that they are calling “the Great Beijing Outer Ring Road”, which one witty local reporter pointed out “will run for almost 1,000 km, and take you back to exactly where you started from” (http://www.china.org.cn/) .
The vehicle population of China reached 240 million last year, of which 120 million were passenger cars, according to a statement by the Ministry of Public Security on its website. The 15.1 million new cars added last year were more than the entire car population at the end of 1999, the ministry said.
The second thing that strikes the eye (and surely a bit of terror into the heart of the diligent policy maker), is the fact that every one of these vehicles looks new and spanking clean. Oops.
For policy makers this means that it is going to be no mean trick to get all of these proud owners out of their fine cars and into something else.
Quite a challenge, eh?
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Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton