Official: Beijing Can Ensure Good Traffic During Games

Beijing has established a highly efficient system to provide a high-quality public transportation system for the up-coming Olympic Games, a Beijing traffic official ensured journalists in Beijing on Tuesday.

Just 10 days away from the opening of the 29th Games, vice director of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau Wang Li was quite confident after a series of measures adopted to ease the traffic congestions in the city of 17 million people and 3.36 million vehicles.

"We are confident that we will satisfy the international community, athletes and the tourists from different countries and regions. We are confident to implement all the control measures. We are ready," she told reporters.

Beijing planned to remove as many as two million cars off the road during the Games and introduced even-odd policy which allows private cars with even and odd license plate numbers to run on alternate days for the next two months on July 20 when 285.7 kilometers of Olympic lanes, lanes dedicated to vehicles serving the Olympic Games, were launched.

Since the adoption of the rules, Wang said, traffic conditions turned much better.

"We have seen 78.8 percent of reduction in the traffic jam reports and 47.1 percent of reduction in accident reports," she said. "The peak of the traffic load on seven major roads dropped by 24.7 percent."

"We are very thankful for the supports of Beijing citizens who are so understanding and supportive," she said.

Wang said redemptive services were provided to private car drivers to offset some of inconvenience brought about by the new rules.

If a couple own two cars that are both with odd or even plate numbers, they can ask for plate number alternation for one car. School vehicles can register for temporary passes for specified periods of time while disabled drivers will be given special passes.

But Wang admitted that there were other reasons to cause traffic jam besides the number of cars.

"I can't guarantee (there is no congestion at all) because nobody can say 100%. There are other elements that need to be taken into account," she said.

"For example, in raining days there might be water on the road that slows down the traffic. So I can't 100% guarantee that there won't be any traffic jams. What I can guarantee is that athletes can get to their destinations on time," she said. "We have very tailor made prepared controlled plans. "

(Xinhua News Agency July 29, 2008)

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