Shanghai's 'most handsome traffic cop' witnesses a revolution

After more than 10 years working as a traffic cop, Chen Dong witnessed a series of traffic management improvements.
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Chen Dong

Personal profile

Chen Dong was born in Shanghai in December of 1981. He is an instructor of the Shanghai Jing’an District Public Security Bureau's No. 1 traffic team. He has won national-level police awards, and was named the country’s model youth in 2016.

Chen witnessed a series of traffic management improvements including “the strictest traffic rules” and the application of the electronic police system. He holds a strict, rational and passionate attitude towards daily work, turning his post into a stage to showcase urban civilization. He was also nicknamed “Shanghai’s most handsome traffic cop.”

Traffic police take part in the city’s management and have witnessed the metropolis’ efforts in refining its traffic management. Despite the increasing number of cars, road traffic has improved. Intelligent devices are also becoming more popular. “To make traffic safer and smoother” is the wish of every traffic cop. 

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My story

Shanghai is a city with great charm. I was born here in 1981. My parents were from Shanghai, and they went to Anhui Province for farm work. I followed them to Anhui’s Tongling before our family moved to Guangdong Province.

In my memory, the happiest time of the year was coming back to Shanghai and visiting my grandmother during summer vacation. Though the journey by slow train was longer than 10 hours, I was always excited. At that time, I could hardly imagine that I would become a Shanghai traffic cop.

I studied at East China University of Science and Technology from 1999. After graduation, I went through selection and became a traffic policeman. My first post was at the intersection of Beijing Road W. and Jiaozhou Road. It was a kind of coincidence that my grandmother’s house was not far from there.

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Young Chen Dong (right)

Over 10 years of work as a traffic cop has allowed me to witness the continuous changes Shanghai’s traffic has brought to citizens’ lives.

Shanghai’s traffic is quite well-developed with advanced hardware. The growing road facilities and Metro system are meeting the increasing demands of citizens. Shared bikes, taxi-hailing software and trams are making public transport more environmentally friendly and convenient. The number of private cars is also growing fast.

Though more cars are hitting the roads, the manners of drivers have improved, where before they used to fight for lanes. There used to be many jaywalkers on Nanjing Road W. but now pedestrians follow traffic rules and wait patiently for the green light. Also, more drivers are giving pedestrians priority, which adds warmth to the city.

With the development of the city, I experienced the refined management as a traffic cop. On March 25, 2017, the newly revised “Shanghai Road Traffic Management Regulation” was officially put into use, which provided a legal tool in dealing with traffic headaches.

The regulation, nicknamed “the strictest traffic rules in history,” hands severe punishment down to violators, like those using electronic devices when driving. It gives priority to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles and protects the proper use of public bus lanes. The regulation showcased Shanghai’s eagerness in refining its city management.

In fact, a lot of metropolises in the world have detailed regulations in city and traffic management. They might appear to be “too strict” at first sight, but when they are put into use, the regulations improve citizens’ lives.

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With the improvement of technology, traffic police are being equipped with more high-tech devices. We used to give handwritten tickets, but now we use PDA devices to issue fines electronically. The rich data in those PDAs also provides evidence for punishments.

Electronic police systems also assisted our work. At the beginning of 1996, Shanghai introduced six systems using film. Come 2017, there are tens of thousands of electronic police systems around the city, which are multifunctional. Thanks to the rapid growth of such systems in Shanghai, drivers are very conscious of traffic rule violations like jumping red lights. The systems help traffic police to capture illegal behaviors which used to be hard to prove.

Shanghai is promoting a “smart traffic” program. Technology can make up for the shortage of police staff. We have a sonar system which detects illegal horn beeping, as well as a multifunctional “super electronic police system.” They provide assistance and support to traffic cops, especially in cases hard to enforce, including cars refusing to give priority to pedestrians, or jaywalking.

Some experts also agree that instead of increasing the amount of traffic police, Shanghai should make use of intelligent management systems and methods to raise the efficiency of city management.

To make traffic safer and smoother is the wish of a traffic cop like me. It’s also the hope of every citizen and the target of a city which aims to become a top, world-class metropolis. 

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