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2015-10-12 | project

Automobile demand analysis in Beijing

The overall goal of this research is to: (1) Evaluate the externality costs from transportation in terms of congestion and vehicle emissions (2) Analyze the factors that influence individual’s transportation mode choice (in vehicle time, out vehicle time, automobile ownership et al) (3) Analyze the vehicle factors that influence in individual’s vehicle purchase decision (price, fuel consumption, size et al)? We believe the case study of Beijing will yield insights more generally transferable to scholar and practitioner theories about the role of environmental policy instrument in reducing negative externality in the field of urban transportation. 

Local air pollution is another major environmental concern in China. Given sharp increase in private vehicle ownership and the associated increasing emission from urban transport, the air quality is certainly to get worse in many Chinese cities. The assessed social costs of pollution damage are relatively high, in particular the costs of mortality and mobility.  According to World Bank, the costs of health damages associated with urban air pollution (i.e., from sickness and premature death) ranged from 1.2 to 3.8% of GDP, which makes air pollution the costliest pollution faced by China. Beijing is already one of the world’s most polluted cities in terms of air quality. In Gujar et al’s (2008) ranking of ambient air quality in 13 of the world’s megacities, Beijing places second for sulfur dioxide (SO2), second for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and fifth for total suspended particulates (TSP). Of the total emission, a substantial part is from vehicle emission. One study reported that vehicular emissions accounted for 46%, 78% and 83% of the total NOx,CO and HC emission respectively, and of this, cars were the largest contributor of the total vehicular emission, accounting for 35%, 56% and 44% (Fu et al, 2000). In another study, Song et al (2002) illustrated that the vehicular emissions are major source of elemental carbon and organic compounds in the PM2.5 composition.

This project aims at (1) Documenting  the  main  urban transportation challenges in China, public  policies in this field, and evaluating the effectiveness of these policies; (2) Improving the assessment of  transportation externality costs in China (with a focus on Beijing) based on a large scale urban household survey and a proper estimation methodology; (3) Developing an analytical and empirical framework which links private automobile ownership and behavioural transportation modal choice to enhance the understanding of individual’s travel demand choice, automobile purchase and use decisions; (4) Building capacities in China based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of  decision-making process in transportation policies to reach a better understanding of alternative policy instruments for reducing negative externalities from urban transportation.