And we think we have a problem with congestion?
For all the traffic woes the UK endures at least we have a relatively mature car market (let’s leave aside the fact that the population is set to grow by ten million by 2033 and traffic to leap by a third by 2025). Not so several of the emerging nations. Take China for example.
The country has a population of 1.3 billion. Forty three per cent live in urban areas – a figure which is increasing.
Many of these people are seeing a rapid rise in their disposable incomes and for automakers this offers a lucrative market in which to sell their wares.
There were some 63 million cars in China at the end of 2009 with some estimating that figure could rise to 200 million within a decade.
The difficulties are already being seen.
Earlier this year a sixty-mile tailback lasting several days was reported on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway, after emergency repairs had to be carried out.
The capital city has already resorted to banning private cars from its roads for one day a week based on the last number of the registration plate. Officials are planning to go further still and prohibit cars on alternate days based on an odd-even system using the final plate number.
The gridlock is not just down to sheer weight of numbers but also the traffic mix – cars vying for space with buses, bikes and even horse-drawn carts – and motorists aggressive driving style.
Perhaps the only silver lining is that many of the vehicles on the roads are modern meaning they should have decent green credentials.