Dalian is China's 'most congested city': survey

According to study results, the average Dalian commuter regularly spends 35 minutes sitting in traffic jams

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 December, 2013, 5:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 December, 2013, 6:07pm

The northeastern port city of Dalian has won the unenviable recognition as China’s “most congested” city, according to a new survey by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The survey, which focused on 20 of China’s largest cities, polled commuters on the average time they spent sitting in traffic jams. Dalian had the highest time with an average of 35 minutes, replacing Beijing and Wuhan, the previous “most congested” Chinese cities in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Guangzhou had the second highest time, with most commuters saying that they had to sit in traffic jams for about 30 minutes before getting to work.

A message posted on the official Weibo account of state broadcaster CCTV on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences study drew large amounts of chatter, with over 500 comments from residents of the surveyed cities by Thursday afternoon. Many said that they felt Dalian’s traffic congestion was not nearly as bad as the survey made it out to be.

“Beijing’s traffic jams are much worse than Dalian’s,” one Weibo microblogger wrote. “This ‘survey’ seems like an excuse to divert attention away from the fact that China’s capital is the most congested city in the country.”

“It’s true that in recent years, Dalian has had more traffic jams during the morning and evening peak periods, but I don’t believe we can say that the city’s replaced Beijing to become the new ‘congestion capital’ of China,” another wrote.

Others commentators agreed with the survey results wholeheartedly.

“This is what we Dalian residents have to be proud of,” one said. “There’s a lot of congestion because the city has too many one-way streets… This is why owning a car in Dalian is inconvenient.”

Dalian, a major seaport in northeast China's Liaoning province, has faced traffic problems since the 1950s, when high population growth rates led to an influx of automobiles on the streets. The city’s local government has invested over 3 billion yuan (HK$ 4 billion) to build new roads since 1993, and a light rail mass transit system, which began operations in 2003, has helped to relieve congestion.

Nevertheless, Dalian’s status as a popular tourist destination for Chinese travellers and visitors from Korea, Japan and Russia has kept the city constantly crowded, and a 2010 CCTV report found that a seven kilometre journey by bus in downtown Dalian usually took over 50 minutes.