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The limit on the purchase and use of cars will result in a sharp increase in car sales in the short term, said traffic researcher Liang Shiyu at the Tianjin Public Security Police Sergeant Institute.|
Guo Jifu, director with the Beijing Transportation Development and Research Center (BTDRC), said the measures taken by the Beijing government, no matter whether it is to limit car purchases or the use of autos, seek to curb the traffic demand of the public.
"We need to use cars and control the increase of them in a scientific and reasonable way with so many people and such limited resources in our country," said Guo. "It is a difficult task for both the government and the citizens to tackle hand in hand," he added.
Wang Youwei, an urban traffic researcher at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said Beijing needs systematic and innovative ways to solve its traffic problems.
Wang's comments were upheld by Gilbert Van Kerckhove, a Belgium business consultant who has lived in Beijing for three decades and previously offered suggestions to the city's traffic management officials.
Kerckhove said Beijing's roads and traffic rules are car-oriented and give too many consideration to cars, rather than to pedestrians and bicycles.
"The needs of pedestrians and bicycles are usually neglected with cars encroaching on footways and bicycle lanes, while buses and metros are in most cases overcrowded, making passengers very uncomfortable," he said.
The Beijing municipal government has, in recent years, invested heavily in metro projects in a bid to avert ground traffic pressure from shifting to the underground.
The city will have a total of 14 metro lines in operation once five newly built metros are added to the network by the end of this year. In contrast, there were only two metro lines before 2003.
While the metro network plays an important role in easing the traffic jams in Beijing, the ground traffic still has a gloomy outlook.
According to a report released by the BTDRC, Beijing's car population will hit 7 million by the year 2015, judging by the current growth rate.
However, the roads and parking lots within the city will only be able to accommodate 6.7 million cars , at most, by then.
At that time, the speed of traffic will only be 15 km per hour, equal to the speed of an easy jog, according to the report.
This will pose a great challenge for the city's traffic management, which experts say still has room for further improvements.
For example, Monday's draft plan proposes that shuttle buses for schools and companies should be allowed to use special lanes for public buses during rush hours.