A driving restriction policy, as one of the control-and-command rationing measures, is a politically acceptable policy tool to address traffic congestion and air pollution in some countries and cities in the world. Beijing is the first city in China to implement this policy.
A one-day-a-week driving restriction scheme was expected to take 20% of cars off the road every week day. Using household survey and travel diary data, we analyze the short-term effect of this driving restriction policy on individual travel mode choice. The data also allow us to identify which demographic groups are more likely to break the restriction rule. The estimates reveal that the restriction policy in Beijing does not have significant influence on individuals’ decisions to drive, as compared with the policy’s influence on public transit. The rule-breaking behavior is constant and pervasive. We found that 47.8% of the regulated car owners didn’t follow the restriction rules, and drove “illegally” to their destination places. On average, car owners who traveled during peak hours and/or for work trips, and whose destinations were farther away from the city center or subway stations, were more likely to break the driving restriction rules. Therefore, Beijing is probably in need of more comprehensive and palatable policy instruments (e.g., a combination of congestion tolls, parking fees, fuel taxes, and high-speed transit facilities) to effectively alleviate traffic congestion and air pollution.
- Using a household survey, we analyze the short-term effect of driving restriction policy.
- Restriction policy does not have significant influence on car-driving, as compared with its influence on public transit.
- The rule-breaking behavior is constant and pervasive.
- 47.8 percent of the regulated car owners didn’t follow the restriction rules.
- Beijing is in need of more comprehensive policy instruments to alleviate traffic congestion and air pollution.
Related discussion paper can be accessed here: EfD-DP 13-11.
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