Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Congestion Pricing Could Work for Beijing (EMBARQ)

China’s capital city of Beijing is already home to 5.4 million cars, the most of any Chinese city. The country’s rising wealth means that this is a trend unlikely to stop. This rapid motorization has led to many city government “quick fixes” aimed at easing congestion problems in the short-term. In Beijing and other cities, these include creating numerous expressways, flyovers, and tunnels throughout the city. But this infrastructure that immediately “fixes” the problem never quite seems to keep up with the mounting number of vehicles on the road for long.

To provide better air quality and faster, safer mobility for its 11.5 million residents, on November 5, 2013, the Beijing launched its “Work Plan for Vehicle Emission Control 2013-2017”. This plan includes lowering car-licensing quotas from 240,000 to 150,000 cars per year, while increasing the annual quota for electric vehicles from 20,000 units in 2014 to 60,000 units by 2017, and creating the charging stations needed to support these vehicles.

Congestion pricing is one of the most contested components of the work plan, but is also one of the potentially transformational moves that will bring sustainable transport investment and equitable mobility to Beijing. The success of congestion pricing will rest on how this new charging scheme is perceived and how its revenue is reinvested in the community.

Read more @ EMBARQ

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