• Dec 30th 2010 at 9:16AM
  • 7
Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China

In an effort to tackle gridlock and quell pollution that continues to plague Beijing, China, the city announced a measure that will severely limit new vehicle registrations. Starting this Friday, car registrations will be allocated to the city's residents based on a license-plate lottery system. The measure will limit 2011 vehicle registrations to 240,000. That's approximately one-third of this year's figure of 700,000.

Traffic jams in Beijing continue to worsen. The Chinese capital reported that, as of December 19th, 4.76 million registered vehicles were in the city. That number is a big jump from the 2.6 million vehicles registered there in 2005. Recently, China eclipsed the U.S. as the world's number one automotive market, but hazards related to the rising vehicle population have created significant problems in many of China's major cities.

Though Beijing's measure is aimed at reducing congestion, its impact on the environment seems rather obvious. Zhou Zhengy, deputy secretary-general of the city's municipal government, spoke of the purpose of restricting vehicle registration:
The number of cars in Beijing has grown quickly as urbanization and modernization progresses. This has caused severe congestion in some downtown areas, especially at rush hour. Decisive measures shall be taken to control traffic in Beijing. Otherwise, the congestion will only get worse.
Duan Liren, a professor at Chang'an University, touched upon one reason why the measure should also improve the city's overall air quality:
I think these measures will achieve the desired effect to curb traffic congestion. By limiting car license plates, people will be encouraged to take public transport.
Or something.

[Source: Beijing International]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "people will be encouraged to take public transport."

      I sure hope that this measure will also include drastic increases in funding of public transport, or the entire scheme is doomed (see above comments).

      Of course, for all I know Beijing is a paradise of public transportation already, with rapid transit lines every 6 blocks. But probably not.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For a totalitarian state it should not be hard to eliminate auto emissions. BAN the sale of ICE vehicles.

      'Nuff Said.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry I have just realised there maybe some cultural confusion here. As a UK citizen I have experienced the US Tag system first hand when I studied in Florida for 14 months.

      I believe the vehicle registration scheme in China does not work the same way as a Tag does in the US. I believe the system is more like the registration system operated in the UK and possibly the rest of Europe in that vehicles are registered with a unique Tag or registration plate which stays with the vehicle for the life of the said vehicle and the owner simply registers as the owner of a vehicle with that Tag. If the vehicle is sold the seller will be required to inform the relevant authorities of the details of the new owner etc.

      So with the above in mind the scheme will only have the effect of limiting new vehicle supply and thus not penalise existing owners of an already registered vehicle until they try to purchase a 2011 or newer vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw a projection that by 2015 the average vehicle speed in Beijing will be 9 miles per hour. If that holds true it means they ditched their bicycles for autos and just a little while later are again doing bicycles speeds. I love the irony.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sure, and if they outlaw registration, those cars are just going to magically disappear, never to be driven again by people who own them.

      There is no way this program is going to work. Imagine the government in your city decided on a whim to revoke the car registrations for 2/3 of the car owners in your city... including yours. Would you suddenly stop driving altogether? What do you do with your car that you aren't allowed to drive? If you try to sell it. who would buy it from you if they weren't allowed to drive/register it?

      People are going to respond by either, driving around in unregistered vehicles (with 2/3 of the cars unregistered, its not like the police can come anywhere close to stopping everyone), or evade the system by registering the vehicle in another city/town/village etc. Either result might include the passing of bribes (bribe the police officer stopping your unregistered vehicle, or bribe the Chinese DMV equivilent), leading to more corruption. Ah yes, the wonders of communism. Whoever came up with this idea is a moron.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reading the article I beleive that they mean to limit the number of new registrations from 2011 onwards and the not exsiting ones.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am sure this will be a very unpopular law.
      But since they are doing it anyway, why don't they only allow registration of EVs and plugin hybrids.
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