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The effects of driving restrictions on travel behavior evidence from Beijing

Yizhen Gu, Elizabeth Deakin and Ying Long

Journal of Urban Economics, 2017, vol. 102, issue C, 106-122

Abstract: We examine the effects of Beijing’s driving restrictions on individual travel behavior. The restrictions prohibit drivers from using their vehicles one weekday per week on the basis of the license plate number. Using the 2010 Beijing Household Travel Survey data, we find that driving restrictions have significant effects on auto trip frequency and thus vehicle miles traveled, suggesting substitution toward other modes. We also find evidence of the differential effects across subgroups of drivers. This suggests a variation in willingness to pay for auto use, which is not addressed by the restrictions. Three adaptation mechanisms–substitution toward unrestricted hours/days, having access to an unrestricted vehicle, and noncompliance–have been at work that mitigate the policy’s effect. Driving restrictions cause more congestion on days that restrict plates ending in “4” (an unlucky number) and thus have an unanticipated consequence on non-drivers, who reduce their trips on such days.

Keywords: Driving restriction; Auto use; Trip frequency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L51 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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