On August 14, 2010, the China National Highway 110 in Beijing began to generate an extremely serious problem: the reoccurring China National Highway 110 Traffic Jam. However, this time, it was at its worst – this traffic jam lasted for 11 days along 100 km (62 mi), and prevented drivers from more than an average of 1 km (.6 mi). The China National Highway 110 Traffic Jam is considered to be the longest traffic jam in world history.AI-Traffic-Jam-1

Due to the massive increase of vehicle industry in China, each year, the traffic on the China National Highway 110 had grown 40% each year. During that fateful day in August 2010, the traffic congestion was 60% more than the design capacity. To add on, maintenance work was being done on the China National Highway, reducing the road capacity by 50%. Large amounts of coal were being shipped by numerous trucks to Mongolia at the time, due to a lack of railroads. This overloaded the highway as well. Minor breakdown and car accidents along the highway also intensified the traffic congestion, all leading towards the 11 day, 62-mile-long traffic jam.AI-Traffic-Jam-2

Locals near the highway, however, saw this as their way to make big money. Of course the drivers would be without food and other necessities, so locals sold them at extravagant prices. For example, a bottle of water would usually cost 1 yuan (China’s currency), but they were sold to stranded drivers for 10 yuan. Instant noodles were sold for more than triple their original price! Talk about getting ripped off. Crafty vendors sold their products from mobile stores on bicycles.AI-Traffic-Jam-3

In the end, authorities attempted to speed up traffic by limiting large trucks to entering at night. Trucking companies were asked to either suspend their operations or take alternative routes. By late August, the traffic jam had pretty much dispersed, leaving only minor traffic at toll booths.

We all hate traffic jams, so hopefully the world can learn from this disastrous event to prevent further long and unnecessary traffic jams from happening ever again.

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