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China to build intelligent highway in Zhejiang province to ease traffic congestion by 2022

According to a report by China Daily, China has plans to build a super highway in Zhejiang Province to ease traffic congestion by 2022.

Traveling in a self-driving vehicle at 150 kilometers per hour along an intelligent highway which offers automatic charging and toll-paying functionality on the go will no longer be a sci-fi concept in China in a few years.

The super highway, enabling increased safety and higher average traffic speeds, is expected to break ground by 2022 in Zhejiang province, according to the provincial transport authority quoted by the China Daily.

Equipped with intelligent transportation systems to support autonomous vehicles, the 161km-long super highway will connect the three relative prosperous cities of Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Ningbo.

According to a report by Xinhua, the 6-lane new intelligent expressway system will incorporate a monitoring system as well as a warning system to maintain the safety of vehicles while increasing the average traffic speed.

The intelligent highway system will allow vehicles to freely flow past toll booths, which means drivers do not need to stop and charges will be automatically billed, according to Ren Zhong, Deputy Director of Transport for Zhejiang Province.

Designed to ease traffic congestion on the highway linking Hangzhou and Ningbo, it aims to reduce travel time by a third to just 60 minutes.

Mr Ren Zhong continued to share that "the ultimate goal is to realise a top speed limit of 150 km/hr, or even eliminate speed limits, like on German highways.”

However, Jia Xinguang, Executive Director of the China Automobile Dealers Association, commented that to realize the goal of a 150 km/hr top speed limit is a big challenge.

Now, expressways in China have speed limits of between 100 and 120 km/hr. However, the average traffic speed is estimated to be at 90 km/hr due to the mixture of various vehicle types, toll booth delays, traffic accidents and other issues.

Other than smoothing traffic, the super highway will also have a green emphasis in support of increasingly popular electric vehicles. The highway will be equipped with facilities including charging piles and solar-power electricity generation to support the emissions-free vehicles. It will also employ charge-as-you-drive battery-charging technology that will be realized in 2022 when Hangzhou hosts the Asian Games.

Mr Jia Xinguang also added that the function of automatic free-flowing charging could be promoted in the country in the future. The technology would help lower labour costs by cutting down on toll station staff and raising vehicle capacity of highways.

Feature image: Bjoertvedt/ CC BY-SA 4.0

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