Beijing has had a sensible idea when the city’s officials decided to construct a 940-kilometer (580 miles) highway designed to encircle the metropolis, since the city has been the leader of household vehicle ownership in China in 2014.
While the largest auto market in the world experienced a slowing demand last year – with sales up 6.9 percent from the figures of 2013, which were in turn up 14% from the figures accounted in the year-ago period, the total number of passenger cars was nevertheless a record. As the nation added an astonishing amount of new private cars to its already struggling roads, the capital city was posting its own record – with 63 passenger vehicles for every 100 households, which compares to the national average of just 25. The data comes from the Public Security Ministry and shows that Beijing and Shanghai were among 10 municipalities in China that passed the 2 million vehicles threshold, with another 35 cities having on their roads at least one million cars each.
Increased vehicle ownership is the culmination of uninterrupted economical prosperity since the 1990s, with Chinese people having increased incomes and the cities expanding rapidly to accommodate a growing population. These factors have led to a surge in traffic congestion and air pollution caused by vehicles and last year in December Shenzhen, the southern city bordering Hong Kong, was the eighth municipality in the country to set a limit for new vehicle registrations. Last year China had a record number of 154 million vehicles on its roads, with autos becoming the main transportation providers in the country – finally replacing the motorcycle.