Beijing: Beijing plans to test its new Global Positioning System that alerts drivers to real-time road congestion and shows the quickest way to a destination.

Next year, 12,000 drivers in the Wangjing area of Beijing will have their cars fitted with a free GPS device, operated by Beijing Palmcity Science and Technology Co., for the experiment that will last till October.

The traffic situation in Wangjing is similar to the rest of the city. The main arteries are usually clogged, but streets and feeder roads are usually not, said Jia Tingting, manager of the firm and in charge of the programme.

‘The situation can certainly improve if we can direct the traffic to less congested roads,’ Jia said on Saturday.

If the experiment proves successful, it will be expanded to other areas.

This is only one of the efforts of the municipal authority to push for an intelligent transportation system and to encourage the use of public transportation, Jia said.

Other efforts include cell phone applications that would inform commuters of the arrival time of the next bus or subway train before they leave home, and an online information system about available space in parking lots.

Beijing will allocate 5.6 billion yuan (USD 884 million) in the next five years to further develop an effective system to solve its traffic problems, said Wang Gang, an official at the Beijing municipal commission of transport.

The municipal government also plans to build more parking lots next year.