Hangzhou City Profile - Joanne Pang

Background and Overview

Hangzhou is one of the most important tourist cities in China, famous for its natural beauty and historical and cultural heritages. It is the political, economic and cultural center of Zhejiang province as well. It's worthwhile to know that it's annoyingly humid in summertime, which is from early June to early September.

Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake have been immortalised by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. The city's population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Since June 2011, the West Lake Cultural Landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

With the gradual silting up of its harbour, much of the city's trade and industry passed north to nearby Shanghai, but the city still has a bustling population of 8.7 million and ranks as one of China's most popular tourist attractions.

What do I want to Know?

What is traffic like in Hong Kong?

This video is by a tourist taking a time lapse video of Hangzhou, 8 minutes compressed into 10 seconds. This shows that even in such a short period of time, there are numerous cars on the road, and you can never see a second with no cars in even a small area. Because it is one of the most populated cities in China, this highly affects the number of cars on the road, because if you look carefully, most of them are private cars.

This photo is a data set from 2013 of Hangzhou's top 10 most jammed roads, Day on the left and Night on the right, and the number units are km/h. You can see that no cars exceed 20km/h, and that is very slow for an average car, which should be travelling at around 70~100 km/h. From the data table, you can tell that the traffic in these roads are terrible. If they can't even reach 20km/h, the speed is basically sluggish, and walking can even catch up with one car just to get out of one traffic light. From both tables, you can also see that the traffic in the day is better at night, but the difference is no more than 0.5, which is also a big problem because the difference is so small.

Above is a table from 2014 about the Amount of Applications received of Private Cars in Hangzhou. While the blue ones are the number of registration, the red ones are the active registrations. You can see that not only the number is rising, the numbers are also over 200,000, which is an incredible amount. This is already a huge problem despite the fact that Hangzhou was already so crowded in the first place.


This really explains why the PM 2.5 is always so high in Hangzhou, and most of it is produced from the ten thousands of cars everyday going everywhere, and stopping around leaving the car on. Hangzhou has already started to deal with the problem by only allowing odd or even numbers on weekends and preventing cars from going into West Lake during holidays or special events, but it seems like the problem is still continuing.


Hangzhou Traffic. Dir. Simon Froggatt. YouTube. Google Inc., 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 May 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbtL-r3Q3JQ>.

"Hangzhou." Travel Guide. Media Wiki, n.d. Web. 30 May 2015. <http://wikitravel.org/en/Hangzhou>.

Number of Car Registrations in Hangzhou. Digital image. Car News. Bite News.cn, 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 May 2015. <http://www.bitenews.cn/uploads/allimg/141103/1-1411030JH0I5.png>.

Cai, Ling. 2013 Hangzhou's Most Jammed Roads. Digital image. Xiu Shan Net. Xsnet, 6 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 May 2015. <http://www.xsnet.cn/images/2013_subject/xszd/zdcx/2014/3/6/301EBB805CB44D168C7DF1CCBFFC3F30.jpg>.

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