China's Road To Nowhere

Marina Hyde writes that the "horrible thing about China's 62-mile nine-day jam was that it destroyed the certainty that travel will inevitably result in arrival."

Among the citizens of the Chinese traffic jam, there appears to be little camaraderie; a reflection of our notion that traffic is always something inflicted upon us, even though it is manifestly a collective activity. "We say we are "in" traffic, dramatizing ourselves as a lone vehicle of noble and rational intent, with a sea of malevolent, dead weight antagonists stretching endlessly fore and aft," Hyde explains.

It is clear that we have a number of psychological duplicities to confront with regards to vehicular congestion. Indeed, the word traffic means movement of some sort but has been commandeered to imply sitting still.

"What we've always comforted ourselves with, however, is the idea that we'll get out of this jam eventually. The grimly hilarious thing about the Chinese gridlock is that it has appeared at times to be undermining this last psychological defence against the fear that we are all eternally trapped on a journey going nowhere. "Who knows when it will end?" one driver was quoted as asking. Another, more to the point, wondered: "Who knows if it will ever end?""

Full Story: Are we there yet? Soon we'll all be on a road to nowhere



In that Chinese traffic jam,

In that Chinese traffic jam, the vehicles are NOT moving. The drivers have ended up turning their vehicles off to save on fuel. No fuel is being consumed. BP, or others, must come to the rescue and find a way to get the traffic moving, at least. We must use more and more fuel, we can't have traffic jams like that where fuel is not be consumed.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Rome grey gold tie

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.