The flow of traffic on Xinzhou Road during morning rush hour was improved by two-thirds after reversible lanes were piloted on the section between Lianhua Road and Hongli Road.
A reversible lane (also known as a counterflow lane or tidal lane) allows traffic to travel in either direction depending on the current conditions. Typically, overhead traffic lights and lighted street signs notify drivers which lanes are open and closed.
“Xinzhou Road is suitable to pilot reversible lanes as there are 3,400 southbound vehicles per hour in the morning, more than double the amount of northbound vehicles,” Lin Hang, deputy chief of Shenzhen traffic police’s road administration department, said yesterday.
Lin said police are assessing the results to decide whether to implement the new road management method, which would be a first for the city.
Beijing, Jinan and Hangzhou have already introduced reversible lanes to improve the efficiency of certain roads.
“Not every road is suitable for introducing reversible lanes. The new method could only be implemented after thorough tests and feasibility studies,” Lin said.
Some drivers were caught unaware when the rule was implemented for two hours starting at 7:30 a.m. The number of southbound lanes had been expanded from six to seven and police had to set up a sign to guide vehicles entering the reversible lane.
One driver surnamed Cao praised the practice, saying the road’s efficiency had been improved, while another driver surnamed Lai disagreed, saying the new method did not have the ability to improve the whole traffic situation in a given area.“The road signs aren’t very clear,” Lai said.
Shenzhen police started testing the feasibility of reversible lanes on Meiguan Road during rush hour two years ago. The temporary reversible lane was about 3 km long and could be adjusted according to traffic conditions during the morning and evening rush hour.