It may come as a surprise to daily commuters in China's capital, but according to the latest traffic report, Beijing is no longer the country's most congested city.
The annual report, released by leading Chinese navigation service provider AutoNavi (listed as AMAP on NASDAQ), said Jinan and Harbin have overtaken Beijing in having the worst traffic jams among 60 Chinese cities surveyed in 2016.
Beijing was crowned the most congested city in 2015. Netizens coined the term "shoudu", which sounds similar to "the capital" but means "the most congested", to mock the traffic in Beijing, home to 21.7 million people and 5.7 million cars.
The evening rush hour congestion in Beijing on September 13, 2016. /CFP Photo
According to the latest report, Jinan, Harbin, Beijing, and Chongqing are the only four cities with a traffic jam delay index over 2.0, which means rush hour commutes take double the time they would during non-rush hours.
Guiyang, Shenzhen, Kunming, Hangzhou, Dalian, and Guangzhou occupy spots five to 10 on this year's list, respectively. Shanghai, which ranked 7th in 2015, was not among the top 10.
The traffic congestion at around 6:00 p.m. in Beijing on September 13, 2016. /CFP Photo
In fact, the report shows that traffic has improved in all three mega-cities - Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou - while congestion has become a prominent issue in second-tier cities, especially provincial capitals and provincial economic hubs.
Beijing has spent 30 billion yuan (4.4 billion US dollars) annually on average on its subway network in recent years. The city now has 18 subway lines, most built in the past decade. Five new lines will be added in 2017, and according to the government's plan, new lines with a combined length of 900 km will be put into use between 2016 and 2020.
(Story adapted from Xinhua)