Curbing traffic congestion
By 11am on the day before the extended Dragon Boat Festival holiday, which ended yesterday, the southbound lanes on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5) were congested, and the congestion lasted into Thursday, the first day of the holiday. Traveling by bus from Taipei, it took me 3.5 hours to get to Yilan, where I only arrived after midnight.
The government is calling on people to use public transportation, but that is not enough. Most people are too fond of the convenience and flexibility of traveling on their private vehicles. Therefore, in addition to traffic diversion measures aimed at maintaining smooth traffic flow, such as high occupancy vehicle controls, on-ramp controls, toll-free nights, allowing driving on the road shoulder and so on, traffic should be controlled based on the last digit of the vehicle’s registration plate as it is in Beijing, Paris, Seoul and other places.
For example, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit would be allowed to travel on freeways at the beginning of a holiday, while those with an even digit would have to use alternative routes. At the end of a holiday, even-numbered cars would be allowed to use the freeway, while odd-numbered cars would have to use alternative routes.
This approach would be more readily accepted as it is fair, and it would also reduce suspicions that the government is increasing tolls simply to squeeze more money out of the public.
Traffic congestion wastes huge volumes of fuel, causes air pollution and creates public discontent. Hopefully the government will introduce stricter controls using the odd/even registration number approach and thus achieve its goal of dividing traffic flows and reducing congestion.
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