And you thought our traffic was bad. CityFix quotes Time Magazine, which recently named Bangkok The Capital of Gridlock.
CityFix says that the author explained just how bad traffic can get in the Thai capital:
“Police don’t consider traffic bad until a car is stationary for at least an hour. Really bad is two hours.”And they proceed to cite how the article relates traffic to a myriad of problems, including:
So be grateful that things are not that bad in our megacity. But realize we are headed that way if we continue to prioritize cars over people. We really need efficient public transportation.
The human side: “Traffic in Thailand’s capital snarls with such ferocity that hundreds of women over the past few years have been forced to give birth in cars.” Police are now trained in midwifery, [Hannah Beech] reports.
The economic side: “More than $1 billion in productivity is lost every year to traffic jams.”
The environmental side: In the 1970’s Bangkok cemented over canals to build more streets for the growing number of cars. “…the declining number of canals, which once served as reservoirs for rain, means that substantial portions of the city flood during the five-month-long wet season. The rising water invariably short-circuits traffic lights, turning intersections into free-for-alls.”
And if you have some time on your hands and are prepared to get caught up with online tweaking, go learn about traffic patterns and how traffic jams form via this nifty java-based traffic simulator (via WorldChanging).
Try tweaking the speed limits vs. traffic flow, you'll see how slowing down the traffic actually allows the roads to absorb more vehicles and allows traffic to flow smoother.
(Except it doesn't let you control the number of lanes otherwise you can see how adding road capacity doesn't actually lead to smoother traffic.)