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​Beijing traffic control wows foreign journalists

Date: 2012-11-13

Standing in the first floor of Beijing's traffic police command center, Garry Yan of Australia was impressed with a large LED screen that consisted of 98 small display screens.

"I am surprised to see that they provide such a detailed service to the public, and that the real-time monitoring system is so advanced," Yan said on Monday.

The large monitoring screen is part of the intelligence transportation system applied by the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau in 2007, which integrated 36 real-time monitoring functions.

The system collects traffic-flow data for 24 hours with high-tech methods and releases real-time traffic information after analysis of that data, said Zou Ping, the director of the bureau's science department, on Monday.

With image-recognition technology, the system can detect road accidents on Second Ring Road, Third Ring Road and Fourth Ring Road, and then report the situation to the traffic police command center, Zou said.

On Sunday, the operators of Beijing traffic hotline 122 received nearly 12,000 calls, and more than 3,000 calls reported automobile accidents. Under the system, the center can handle the traffic accidents in a short time when receiving the calls.

Those calls and information were integrated with other real-time monitoring systems, such as the locations of traffic police on patrol, which enables the nearest police to arrive at the accident scenes in a short time, Li Shaoming, deputy director of Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, told reporters from China and abroad on Monday.

The reporters were invited to the traffic police command center as well as a community school in Xicheng district by the media center of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

The intelligence transport system also plays an important role in helping residents with emergency needs.

For example, in October, traffic police launched an emergency plan after receiving calls from two victims, one who lost a finger and another who burned his eyes. Traffic police took less than an hour to rush the patients to Jishuitan Hospital and Tongren Hospital, which saved time in their treatments, Li said.

"The system was so great, and I could feel that the government made many efforts to solve the traffic problem, and Beijing's traffic is improving gradually," said Li Wenquan, a reporter of Europa China TV in Italy.

Li Wenquan, originally from Beijing, moved to Italy in 1998. Compared with the situation 14 years ago, Beijing's roads have become wider, but now they also have a huge number of people and vehicles on them at the same time, Li Wenquan said.

Until October, Beijing has 5.18 million vehicles and 7.36 million drivers, according to official data. Raising public awareness of traffic rules and promoting good driving habit are essential to handle Beijing's traffic problems, Li Wenquan said.

Yan, from the Australian Chinese Times, also said that in addition to the hard work of Beijing's traffic police and the city's advanced monitoring system, improving public awareness of traffic rules and good driving habits are needed.

He said that Beijing could learn from the traffic sign system in cities of Australia, and it should harshly punish those who drive over the speed limit.

In the field of intelligence transportation systems, Beijing is in a leading position in China. The system is an effective way to tackle traffic congestions in cities, said Jiao Weiyun, an engineer at the Research Institute of Highway, Ministry of Transport.