Traffic in China

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in China, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in China?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


As a laowai, I feel the best way to commute in the heart of Shanghai is by bicycle or electric-scooter. That is provided the distance is not too far and you have great bike handling skill.

I have a car and drive in Guangzhou. 

My comment is simply that CHINA NEEDS TO HIRE PATROLLING POLICE FORCE TO ENFORCE THE TRAFFIC LAWS.  There are a lot of people, me included, that follow the laws, but there is a percentage of people that just don't care, this group cuts into lines, or make their own lines, they weave in and out of traffic, drive on the sidewalks and in bike lanes, they don't pay attention, they simply drive horribly!   This makes it VERY DANGEROUS for everyone else to drive. 

But, the rule I've herd too many times is that "no camera, it is not illegal".  The only way to reduce this behavior is to get patrolmen and women on the streets writing tickets.  In fact, I had an investor in Beijing that didn't worry about camera tickets because he would pay people to "accept the punishment", he had a perfectly clean record.  Patrolling police would solve this problem as well and make the person that did the crime accept the punishment.

Last, hopefully if this police force is implemented, they can also enforce the laws for delivery trikes, motorcycles and other vehicles.  It is really sad to see how they drive the wrong direction on the street, cross intersections on red lights, don't have the proper safety equipment (i.e. no lights at night)

But, until patrolling police start enforcing traffic regulations in China I do not recommend to any foreigner to try to drive is really dangerous!  Even be careful with bicycles or electric scooters...the drivers are dangerous to all!!!!

Traffic in China can be amazingly awful. You have 18 wheel tractor trailer rigs making U-turns with little old ladies in walkers weave in and out of the traffic.  You have three wheeled cars, electric scooters, motorcycles, and ride-share bikes going in and out of the traffic, often going in the wrong direction and cutting across lanes.  Any accident, even the slightest fender-bender will result in a complete stoppage of traffic until the police comes to record the event.

However, on the plus side, serious accidents are rare.  In the United States, everyone would see a serious accident from time to time with dead people.  Not in China.  Serious accidents are very rare.

Getting a driver's license is necessary, and not all that bad if you are an expat.  You need to take a 100 question multiple choice test, and hand in your existing driver license. There is a pool of 1000 questions, and 100 are selected at random.  You can study on line, and memorize the answers.  You need to score a 96 to pass.  You are permitted three attempts. I scored a 98 and have had my license for four years so far.

All apartments have a parking space that you have the option to rent.  Rate in my current home is 300 RMB per month.

Most people in China take public transportation. It is very convenient.  Having a car is more of a hassle than it needs to be. Though many have one for status and face. Myself, I prefer to be chauffeured about. The need for a car in China is not the same as the United States. Most expats, unless they are willing to buy a used second hand motorcycle or scooter, will not be able to afford a car.  Current prices for a used 10 year old truck will run you around 60,000 RMB which is pretty reasonable.  Or you can pay  400,000 RMB for a new midsized car. (40 wan)

Talking about cars in China is only important to the expat who NEEDS and has the finances to pay for it.

Hello everyone,
I live in Shanghai and here is traffic too much and to quit from traffic is only one way to get subway to go somewhere very fast and easily

I live in Shenzhen and NO traffic problems for me. I just ride my bike! For bigger distances, I take a taxi, bus or metro. We do have traffic jams here, of course. So during rush hours, I'll stick to my bike or the metro.
Take Care

It's always Darwinism at work here, more people, more cars and now more Mofos aka. shared bikes and kamikaze food/express delivery guys!
Since last year, the traffic situation in Shanghai saw a slight improvement, more cameras, drones and officers but still much work to be done.
I still need to elbow my way out from elevator, subway, supermarket...and through the crowd in Disneyland!


I Was in china for two months staying in Hotels in Guangzhou . it was not that much traffic if you use metro or public transportation you dont waste your time on traffic. last day I was in Guangzhou and went to airports 30 minutes was traffic I do believe because raining too much. overall was good

Traffic depends where and when you are at.  Downtown Shenzhen in the middle of Chinese New Year is empty.  But TangXia in DongGuang is a nightmare during rush hour.  However, if you can, the best way to get around in China is by using the subway. Nothing else is even close.

I am staying in Shenzhen mostly, and unless you're in the peak hours (7-8am) subway is good. Public buses are still not so English speaking friendly IMO, but if I plan a new route and use a GPS on my phone, it is not a difficult task. Most of my travels are off-peak hours so I don't meet much congestion in public transport. I tend to use my unicycle a lot as it's very portable and efficient and it's a good way to have your free personal mobility device and reaching destinations in junction with public transport (and maybe exploring around).

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