Faced with unbearable levels of air pollution, China is targeting the transportation sector as a potential solution. The city of Beijing is taking the lead with a series of new restrictions on vehicles.
The city will start by limiting the number of new license plates issued each year. Over the next four years, Beijing will only register 150,000 new vehicles each year, down from about 240,000 per year currently.
In 2014, 20,000 of these registrations will be reserved for electric/hybrid vehicles. By 2017, 60,000—or 40%–of newly registered vehicles will be electric/hybrid. Beijing is one of four Chinese cities to have restrictions on new car sales, joining Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Guiyang. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced in July that the country will soon restrict vehicle sales in eight more cities.
Of course, with restrictions on vehicle sales comes the obligation to provide biking- and walking-friendly infrastructure, as well as efficient and convenient public transportation options. Still, it seems that China is on the right track.