At a symposium on alternative models of economic development held on Sep. 11, Beijing CPPCC members agreed that the ultimate solution to problems of traffic congestion and air pollution lay in promoting public transport and limiting the number of private cars on the roads. But they were less clear on what immediate steps should be taken.
Cui Cheng, from the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, proposed that every car, including government-owned vehicles, should be taken off the road for one day each week according to a rota based on their license plate numbers. He also proposed an annual emissions rights purchase system to charge people according to the exhaust gases emitted by their vehicles. The revenue raised would be used to fund public transport and pollution control measures.
But President of the China Enterprise Appraisals Corporation Quan Zhongguang, while admitting the “odd and even number” traffic control measures had eased congestion and improved air quality during the Olympics, said an odd-even license plate system would not work in the long run, as it would encourage people to buy additional cars to circumvent the ban. He said traffic jams are a major cause of excess energy consumption and air pollution, and urged the authorities to look into traffic dispersal measures.
(China.org.cn by Fan Junmei September 13, 2008)