The Great Odd Even Debate

A great debate is taking place across Beijing’s BBS forums and newspaper columns as citizens weigh the pros and cons of extending the odd-even car restrictions that have been in effect since Jul 20 and, along with a series of other measures, have helped to contribute to the great weather and relatively smooth traffic that the city has been enjoying for the past few weeks. According to officials from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, the city's traffic conditions improved dramatically, with statistics showing that the amount of traffic on major roads dropped 21% and that average speeds increased 27% during the Olympic Games. Traffic conditions have been even better since the “Olympic Lanes” were opened to regular vehicles again.

According to a poll of 5058 residents taken by The Beijing News, nearly 70% of participants expressed support for extending the restrictions (this is also the rate of support at our own poll over at the forum), 20% of respondents disagreed. Not surprisingly, 82.9% of those without a car supported the proposal, still, an impressive 48.5% of car owners were also in support of making the ban permanent.


Here are some arguments that people have used to support their opinion:

Against:

  • The high price of housing in downtown Beijing forces a lot of people to live in suburbs and the commute from the outskirts of town takes much longer on public transport than in a car.
  • Public transport is still far from being accessible to every point of the city and it’s going to be hard to take public transport once the migrant workers return to town.
  • Issues of traffic congestion aren't going to be fundamentally solved even if the restrictions continue.

For:

  • Making it a long-term policy would be energy efficient and could help to solve problems to do with the increasing price of petrol.
  • Most people have noticed the improved air quality and decreased level of pollution compared to the pre-car restriction days.
  • It’s likely to reduce the amount of traffic accidents

The Beijing government appears to be letting the debate run its course before deciding whether to extend or not extend the restrictions.

Links and Sources
bezdomny ex patria: mmhmm
The Beijing News: 48.5%有车族支持长期单双号
The Beijing News: 长期单双号支持率68.9%
The Beijing News: 新京报网论坛网友观点交锋刊选
Beijing Traffic Management Bureau
Tree Hugger: 10 Ways Beijing (and Other Cities) Can Keep Its Skies Blue and Roads Gridlock-Free
Time – The China Blog: The Future of Beijing's Cleaner Air
Facebook: Keep the odds and evens car restrictions in Beijing
The Beijinger Forum: Should Beijing keep the odds-and-evens traffic restrictions?
The Beijinger: Blue Skies


Comments

When push comes to shove, many will just buy a second car to beat this scheme. This has been witness many years ago in Manila, Philippines when the local government came out with this odd/even system to regulate the traffic in the city. It solves nothing.

A much better solution would be to make drivers pay on per use basis, how much time thy are on the road each day (and contributing to congestion), having a fee to enter the city zones, higher charges for parking spaces etc as well as higher cost of car ownership to deter "marginal car owners" who may not really have need for a vehicle and may well survive on the subway and taxis.

mezzo wrote:
When push comes to shove, many will just buy a second car to beat this scheme. This has been witness many years ago in Manila, Philippines when the local government came out with this odd/even system to regulate the traffic in the city. It solves nothing.

The survey above also asked the question "would you consider buying a second car if the odds/evens scheme was made permanent?" Only 18% said yes.

Books by current and former Beijinger staffers

http://astore.amazon.com/truerunmedia-20

Add new comment