25 April, 2012


After being in Beijing for most of my working life, I thought I was used to extreme trafic conditions - like 2 hours from Nokia's office in BDA (Yizhuang) to go home around Worker's Stadium. A ride of about 25 km. And with the car explosion, where in 2010 more than half million cars where added, it is tough to keep building out roads.

Another example was Terminal 2 that was completed in 2002 after 4 years, but when it was opened it almost already ran out of capacity, so the huge Terminal 3 was projected and ready 5 years later, in 2008. It was impossible to forecast that tremendous growth in travelling during such a short time period. That's what hyper growth can do to you.

But what is Stockholm's excuse? Essingeleden (E4) goes from south of Stockholm, passing Kungsholmen around downtown to Norrtull where it heads northbound. In 2009, long long due, Vägverket (Swedish Road ministry) started a re-construction of the 8 km 'long' road. And it will take a whopping 6 years! In Beijing a new airport is constructed in shorter time. When I came, 1997, 4th ring road in Beijing hadn't been started to be built. Now, there are both a 5th and 6th ringroad.

Now, I am not in civil engineer but why does it have to take 6 years?! The overall cost to society is probably far more than if the plans are forced to complete the road constructions in 3 years instead of 6. The pollution created during the rush hour, the time lost for the people spending all this extra time in trafic, day in and day out for 6 years. I doubt that it can be an overall benefit to spend more than 6 years.

And while I am on it, extending the Blue subway line to Nacka is probably a good idea (I have no opinions in the matter) but that it should take 10-12 years to complete? To do things too fast sometimes is not good, but why that it has to be slow? Note, I do not compare the decision process between Beijing and Stockholm only the implementation of decisions taken.