New ranking unveils road congestion situation in China
Annual official report on China's road congestion situation was released on Thursday, co-conducted by China's transportation authorities and its leading navigation service provider AutoNavi. The report sheds light on which cities had the most road congestion and analyzes how different cities deal with traffic problems.
Jinan, the capital of east China’s Shandong province, remained "the most congested Chinese city" in the country for two consecutive years, according to the report. It was followed by Beijing and Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province.
The time-delay index in Top 3 cities all reached over 2.0 this year, which means rush hour commutes take double the time they would during non-rush hours.
Among the 10 most congested cities, Hohhot of Inner Mongolia, Hefei of Anhui, and Changchun of Jilin made it onto the list for the first time.
The overall traffic situation in China was improved last year, which saw a 2.45% decline in Traffic Performance Index (TPI) when compared with that of 2016, returning to the level of 2015, even as GDP and car ownership keep increasing.
The report also indicates that 51 of the 100 major cities have seen their congestion reduce, 27 cities no change, 22 cities worsen compared with the previous year.
Chengdu of Sichuan, Shijiazhuang of Hebei, Shenzhen of Guangdong, Wuhan of Hubei, and Hangzhou of Zhejiang saw improvements in traffic and were no longer on the list of the 10 most congested cities.
The congestion reduction in Xi'an is largely attributed to the odd-and-even license plate rule, while the opening of new subway lines in Shenzhen and Shijiazhuang makes positive effect on tackling the gridlock.
Wuhan City in central China’s Hubei Province marks the 47th spot with the help of Big Data. By analyzing real-time vehicle information and results of different traffic policies, congestion in the city has been alleviated in successive four years.
Although average car occupancy is around 2.8 people, southeastern city Xiamen in Fujian Province eases traffic jam with the help of its reasonable road design, ranking the 50th of the congestion list.
Stuck in the road, not only the time flies, but the money. According to congestion costs based on commuting time and wage level, Hong Kong, Beijing and Guangzhou remain the top 3, with Hong Kong's highest annual economic loss per capita up to 15,890 yuan (about 2483 US dollars).
The report also notes that the best hours for commuting turn out to be from 10:00 a.m. till noon every day, and the last quarter of the year has the worst traffic.  
Researchers warned that 42% of the cities in China will face worse traffic this year, and 58% of the cities are expected to improve or remain the same.
China has experienced unprecedented urbanization over the past 30 years, leading to rapid mobilization in the nation’s urban area. The increasing rate of cars on the road has contributed to worsening traffic congestion, which has been a big challenge for local governments of many cities.