Friday, October 06, 2006

No car rentals during the Olympics?

We’re still quite far from the Green Olympiad 2008 promised by Beijing, but this time the main worry is not pollution, but traffic congestion. One easy solution: stay out of the Olympics!

Forget driving to the Olympics, says Beijing
No private cars would be allowed near any of the venues in the host city

Spero News - Anyone planning on attending the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is Beijing, China can forget about renting a car when they get there.

Newspapers reported on 18 September that no private cars would be allowed near any of the venues in the host city, in an attempt to combat traffic gridlock that has plagued the city.

Known for its stand-still traffic, Beijing's transport authority believes it needs to curb at least 20% of traffic flow, to ensure the Games run smoothly. The number of cars in the metropolitan area is set to increase from 2.7 million to 3 million, by the time of the Olympics. Country-wide, annual car sales are expected to reach 10 million annually by 2010.

A good infrastructure is one of the International Olympic Committee's top priorities when searching for bid cities. The IOC requires that athletes, support staff such as coaches, venue volunteers, spectators, and the press all should be able to get from venue to venue without hassle.

Existing plans in Beijing say that private cars may only drive the streets of the city on alternate days. Plates with odd numbers would run one day, while even numbered licenses would move around town the next day.

Wired magazine has suggested fuel-cell vehicles may be China's next cultural revolution. Vancouver-based venture capitalist Mike Brown told the National Post: "If they get aggressive about this, and they decided to build up a fuel cell manufacturing capability to sell half a million of these things, they'll get the costs down faster than anybody else.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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