Transportation of Beijing
With the growth of the city following economic reforms, Beijing has evolved as an important transportation hub. Encircling the city are five ring roads, nine expressways and city express routes, eleven China National Highways, several railway routes, and an international airport.
Beijing has two major railway stations: Beijing Railway Station (or the central station) and Beijing West Railway Station. Three other railway stations in Metropolitan Beijing handle regular passenger traffic: Beijing East, Beijing North, and Fengtai. There are also several other small stations serving suburban area.
Beijing is a railway hub. There are railway lines from Beijing to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Harbin, Baotou, Taiyuan, Chengde and Qinhuangdao. Direct trains to Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR also depart from Beijing.
International trains, including lines to cities in Russia and Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK), all run through Beijing.
Roads and expressways
Beijing is connected via road links from all parts of China. Nine expressways of China (with six wholly new expressways under projection or construction) connect with Beijing, as do eleven China National Highways. Within Beijing itself, an elaborate network of five ring roads has developed, but they appear more rectangular than ring-shaped. Roads in Beijing often are in one of the four compass directions.
One of the biggest concerns with traffic in Beijing deals with its apparently ubiquitous traffic jams. Traffic in the city centre is often gridlocked, especially around rush hour. Even outside of rush hour, several roads still remain clogged up with traffic. Urban area ring roads and major through routes, especially near the Chang’an Avenue area, are often clogged up during rush hour.
Recently expressways have been extended (in some cases reconstructed as express routes) into the territories within the 3rd Ring Road. As they are either expressways or express routes, drivers do not need to pass through intersections with traffic lights. This may finally solve the difficulties in "hopping between one ring and another".
Another problem is that public transportation is underdeveloped (the subway system is presently minimal) and that even buses are jam-packed with people around rush hour. Beijing was poorly designed in terms of zoning and in terms of transportation system. Compounding the problem is patchy enforcement of traffic regulations, and road rage. Beijing authorities claim that traffic jams may be a thing of a past come the 2008 Olympics. The authorities have introduced several bus lanes where, during rush hour, all vehicles except for public buses must keep clear.
Chang’an Avenue runs east-west through the centre of Beijing, past Tian’anmen. It is a major through route and is often called the "First Street in China" by authorities.
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