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Nissan-Beijing Traffic System to Help Ease World’s Worst Commute

Beijing, once voted the city with the world’s most onerous commute, is getting help from an automaker to ease its traffic jams.

Nissan Motor Co. jointly developed a real-time traffic information system with the Chinese capital that provides motorists the fastest route to their destinations, based on road conditions provided by the city’s traffic information center. The suggested shortcuts are delivered through a dashboard-mounted device similar to a global positioning system.

Projections by the company show a 10 percent increase in average vehicle speeds from using the system and a corresponding drop in energy consumption and carbon emissions if the same proportion of vehicles use the system, the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker said in a release today.

“We’re still exploring ways on how to commercialize the devices,” Tetsuo Hasegawa, Nissan’s global manager for environmental and safety technologies, said in a briefing in Beijing today.

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is home to seven of the world’s 10 most polluted cities, according to a 2012 report by the Asian Development Bank. Air quality in Beijing reached hazardous levels for 20 days in January, according to U.S. Embassy readings, sparking public calls for government action.

The Chinese capital has capped the number of new vehicles in the city at 240,000 a year, a number that will be further reduced to ease pollution and traffic congestion, the official Xinhua News Agency reported this month, citing the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.

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