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China Highways

Highways, Beijing

Highway travel is one of the two basic land transportation means in China, and the volume of passenger transport on highways has been far ahead of the total of other transportation means in recent years.


By the end of 2005, the total length of express highways in China reached 41 thousand kilometers (25,476 miles), ranked the second in the world, and county and township roads were up to 1,475,7 hundred kilometers (916,957 miles). According to the program of the Ministry of Communication, by the year 2010 the length of highways in China will be 2,100-2,300 thousand kilometers (1,304,880-1,429,154 miles), of which express highways will be 50 thousand kilometers (31,069 miles). Thus, a "Five-Vertical and Seven-Horizontal" national highway net will form.


Highway travel is flexible and effective, especially for medium and short distances. The density of highways is ten times higher than railways and water transport, and highways are distributed widely. As well, highway travel can serve individuals well through private cars as well as buses.


Highway travel is the main city and intercity transport means in China. Nowadays, buses and bus stops are common in the city and coach stations are usually found near train stations for travelers' convenience. Taxis are also available in the city area at any time if you are in a hurry and willing to pay a little more. Tickets for buses can sometimes be bought by inserting change (coins or bank note) into a slot-machine on the bus, while others are sold directly by conductors. Tickets for long-distance buses can be bought on the buses or at a ticket office. Only a few long-distance buses offer simple free meals during the trip, so you have to prepare some food and drink in advance. Taxi fares are usually paid directly to the driver according to the distance displayed on the meter when arriving at the destination.


 Five Grades of Highways
Express Highway: it is divided into three kinds. One has four lanes on which the average sustainable traffic per day is 25-55 thousand cars; the second has six lanes on which the average sustainable traffic per day is 45-80 thousand cars and the last has eight lanes on which the average sustainable traffic per day is 60-100 thousand cars. The service life of express highways is 20 years.


Class I Highway: the average sustainable traffic per day on it is 1.5-30 thousand cars, and its service life is 20 years.

Class II Highway: the average sustainable traffic per day on it is 3-7.5 thousand medium-duty trucks, and its service life is 15 years.

Class III Highway: the average sustainable traffic per day on it is 1-4 thousand medium-duty trucks, and its service life is 10 years.

Class IV Highway: it includes two kinds. One is double-lane on which the average sustainable traffic per day is under 1.5 thousand medium-duty trucks, and the other is single-lane on which the average sustainable traffic per day is under 0.2 thousand medium-duty trucks. The service life of it is 10 years.