China may have figured out a way to overcome long traffic snarls during rush hour – changing the direction of traffic using reversible lanes.
A government official from the world’s most populous country on Wednesday shared a video on social media to show the use of such lanes to ease the movement of traffic on Beijing’s roads.
“How does Beijing relieve traffic jams? By changing the direction of traffic,” wrote Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson.
“The traffic authority selects a lane to go one direction in the morning and the opposite direction in the evening to release peak pressure,” he explained.
The Chinese official’s post, however, does not mention when and where the video was taken.
The video, which has collected over 96,000 views, shows two vehicles folding the reversible or zipper lane to relieve traffic congestion.
#ChinaInfrastructure: How does Beijing relieve traffic jams? By changing the direction of traffic. Here's how they do it. The traffic authority selects a lane to go one direction in the morning and the opposite direction in the evening to release peak pressure. pic.twitter.com/OaaxycwDJQ
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) August 31, 2022
The video was appreciated on Twitter, where users suggested a similar implementation in other populated cities.
“Sir, Please see the below video of automatic traffic lane changing in Beijing. If implemented on similar lines, it can be a good addition to your exemplary work in infra development at Hyderabad,” wrote a Twitter user from India and tagged Telangana state urban development minister KT Rama Rao.
Reversible lanes add capacity to a road and reduce congestion by borrowing capacity from the other direction, according to the Virginia department of transportation in the US.
This isn’t China’s first brush with reversible lanes, as authorities have used a “zipper truck” to alternate traffic lanes in multiple previous instances.
To battle long traffic jams plaguing its top cities, China first opened its first “zipper-like reversible lanes” to traffic in the tech hub of Shenzhen in October 2016.