"'The number of cars is going up much faster in China than the length of the roads in the cities,' Schipper said. 'The greatest ‘communist' society ever invented doesn't know what to do. That's what worries me. Cars are not something any kind of government can easily control if they're cheap to buy and cheap to drive.'
In Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million where new car registrations are restricted to 6,000 monthly, commuter traffic has slowed to 6 to 10 miles per hour, well under the speed of a bicycle. The traffic's a mess, even though only 20 percent of all daily trips in Shanghai are by car, compared to 80 percent in U.S. cities. For the majority of Shanghaians, who are walking or biking or waiting at the bus stops, it means breathing in a lot of bad air."
But some researchers say it's not too late for China to avoid crippling car traffic problems.