China is big on walking. at least 90% of china have it as a significant mode of travel
It takes time to walk through your apartment complex there, and out the gate into the street, down a few blocks to the bus stop (if you choose to ride a bus), and then make a transfer to the subway station (if you need to go long distances), and in-between these modes of travel, there is walking. Sometimes significant distances of walking and then standing to wait for the next bus or train to arrive, sometimes 10 to 20 minutes. All of this time spent standing and walking. But it is on the streets where pedestrians have the most danger:
pedestrians competing with not only autos, but buses. Buses kill people too
In China, where 90% of the population does not even drive, you have a lot of people (1.5 billion x 90% = 1.35 Billion people) who need to jocky with the automobiles everyday in a crosswalk, or in the street when they are J-WALKING, or even if they are minding their own business on a sidewalk, drivers in China often use the sidewalks to PARK their cars, so the pedestrian there hardly has a safe haven. In fact, they don't as a general rule, at grade. This is why there are 10 times as many fatal accidents with vehicles in China per 100K vehicles than there are in the USA. They have many more pedestrians in harms way, as a default. In the USA, we mostly drive cars and are "protected" from severe harm from other vehicles, as a default, with the exception of very high speed accidents where even a seat-belt or airbag is not going to save you.
I personally experienced the very exciting transportation system in Hong Kong, China, and underneath these same streets are extremely modern subway systems that rival any in the world. They also connect the Island to the mainland, and include a high speed express service to the airport. It is fun to navigate, very interesting and despite the massive double decker buses right near the sidewalk curbs at brisk speeds and quick stops, if you are careful you will not get hit... but the potential is still there, with careless on either side. The numerous fences help, but they are no match for an out-of-control bus or truck or car. They help guide pedestrians, and help pedestrians not make a fatal mistake by stepping off a curb. Despite the obvious dangers of mixing pedestrian traffic with vehicle traffic in large numbers, I still like the system. It is exciting and interesting, especially from the vantage point of a front seat on the second floor of a double decker bus!
March 08th, 2018
COMPLETE STREETS, CHINA STYLE (GRADE SEPARATIONS, MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE INCL. TUNNELS, BRIDGES, SIGNALS, AND OVERPASSES)
Grant Johnson, TE, visited Chongqing, CHINA in January 2018 and observed traffic conditions throughout the city of 30+ Million, and took video to document the various changes that have taken place in the last 5 years. Traffic congestion has worsened, but several improvements have been made to traffic situations to better control traffic flows and to improve pedestrian safety, a major concern.
China is building BULLET TRAINS
at Breakneck Speed
With more than 50% of the world's HSR Track in China, they have 19,000 km as of 2014.
During our 2.5 year stay in China, I served as the Chief Site Engineer (CSE) over engineering and construction for a 70 km section of the new China High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting a 380 km/h electric train from the huge city of Beijing to the huge city of Shenyang in northern China (a distance of 700 km). Beijing–Shenyang Section 京哈高速铁路京沈段
That train is not in service yet (still have to get the trains installed and stations finished out). In the following video I show our 320 km trip from Chongqing to Chengdu, China, at high speed. Video taken in 2014 is a little over two years old. This train has been in service a while and is not as fast as the newer HSR train construction I was working on (they go 230 mph), but this still went about 140 mph.
video © 2014 Enoch Media, Grant Johnson
For two decades now, Hong Kong has slowly been integrating back into China, or vice versa. The transportation system is advanced in both places. In Hong Kong it is completely MULTI-MODAL and optimized for PEDS even though there are trains, buses, taxis, and a myriad of automobiles all around the ped walkways, bridges, and corridors. The PEDS can get around with ease and I was extremely impressed with this. No long waits, and access to the underground SUBWAY METRO at many convenient locations. Locations like the street, from within Malls, from within Airports, from within Office Buildings.
Our family rode the Transit System, Double Decker buses, Trolly, Metro Subway, Taxis.
So I had just bought my first electric scooter in China.
⬅︎ It was the most "expensive" model I could get, because I needed the bigger battery and power to be able to carry my heavy weight around. It was about $650 (3880 yuan), and would go 30 mph and go about 50-60 kilometers. Then you could charge it back up over night.
So I just bought this and now I was sitting on it, and thinking "HERE WE GO" and no helmet, because nobody over there wears helmets. I felt nervous. I was not sure of what to expect. Would I get into an accident. I had driven motorcycles before in the USA, but this was different. This was the STREETS OF CHINA and I did not know what to expect.
THE VIDEO OF THE RIDE (below)😅⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎
Actually, a LOT. Different cultures respond differently to traffic control. I rode a scooter for almost a YEAR in what most Americans would call chaos and crazy traffic with few rules, or few rules obeyed. But its no more dangerous to ride a scooter in the "chaos" traffic of China than it is to take a run down a ski resort and avoid all of the other skiers... don't run into them and look all directions and expect incoming at any time. As long as you are AWARE, you can be safe on the ski slopes where there is absolutely NO traffic control and no speed limit, etc. A free for all. China traffic is not that bad, but there are some rules bent and the riders of scooters are in a class all by themselves. You do not need a license to drive these. Anyone can do it, and the police do not give them tickets. In fact, it seems the only action that earns drivers tickets are the red light cameras which don't ask any questions. They are on all intersections with a signal Drivers of cars are expected to obey these lights. The scooter drivers, not so much. They can creep out and make a dash for it if they think they have a gap in traffic, and even sometimes they don't. The drivers of cars do NOT want to hit one of these scooter drivers because 1) its a hassle to wait for the cop to rule on who's fault it was, 2) cops usually rule in favor of the poor little scooter driver who's bike is now smashed.
SO the drivers of cars look out for these scooters and try to avoid the collision. They do not lay on the horn and threaten or intimidate. In fact, that's one thing I never did see was the potential for road rage. Traffic was crowded and some drivers did cut in line, make an abrupt lane change, but you don't see the retaliation. Just rolling with it. Same with peds on the sidewalk. This culture difference of the USA driver assuming a "right of way" and the China driver assuming no such thing, leads to an entirely different approach when driving. You hear horns in China sometimes, but they are mere warnings to help prevent an accident, not a ridiculous retaliation for a perceived slight by another driver. This culture difference on the road, in my opinion, actually moves more traffic along because there is no time wasted with a useless quarrel, I did not see the slamming of brakes when I rode in any taxi or company car, it just never happened by any driver on the road, no drivers going slow on purpose to teach another a "lesson" and no blocking or preventing a merge. Usually there is cooperation, and if they don't cooperate the merging driver merges anyway and the driver is obliged to yield. There is no purposeful accident. This is because they do not have a "no fault" insurance in China. The police come to the scene immediately, you have to wait, and they make a ruling. They will look at the dash cam footages if any, or hear both sides, and make a ruling. It can end any way so drivers just want to AVOID the accident. There is NO CHANCE they are going to be able to collect some ridiculous sum of money because they got a whiplash. No pot of gold. So there is this CULTURE to avoid the accident by all drivers and if there is an accident its just because of human error.
MONORAIL in Chongqing, Heart of China
Known as the "Furnace City" Chongqing has millions and millions of people (34M?)
Our family lived there for 1.5 years and learned the transit system. We walked a lot and we sweat a lot in the summer, because the climate there was very hot. However, on the Monorail it was cool, when the train did move the breeze came through the whole train compartment which was one continuous compartment and it felt like air conditioning and was very refreshing. The MONORAIL system was a fantastic ride.
No rail, this rode on a single concrete track, elevated most of the time, with lots of subway areas as well.
photo by Grant Johnson
Very smooth. It was all electric and so it could accelerate and decelerate quickly, and because it rode on tires, it could get TRACTION and make it up the steeper parts of track in this tropical and mountainous city. The train was clean. No gum or graffiti whatsoever. No gangs or loiterers, etc. Felt safe. Crowed yes at peak times, other times not so much.
Grant Johnson, TE is a Traffic Engineer in CA who spent 2.5 years in China avidly studying and documenting traffic there. There are big differences between the USA and CHINA, some good some not so good.
19000 Km HSR Track
3 Years- Start To Finish
Accidents In China
Bike Ped Mode
Double Decker Bus
Police Are Arbitrators
Red Light Cameras