Beijingers are wondering if the city government will soon launch a congestion charge to discourage people from driving, as part of measures to cut air pollution from car exhaust fumes.
At a Beijing People’s Political Consultative Conference on May 27, the city’s environmental authorities and transportation commission indicated that policy and technical proposals for a congestion charge were already being drafted.
However, specialists like Zhu Tong, director of the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Peking University, raises questions about how effective a congestion charge is likely to be.
In Zhu’s recent paper, “A transportation solution for clean air,” co-written with Professor Frank Kelly who is director of the environmental research group at King’s College London, the pair argued that a congestion charge will have limited effect as long as overall vehicle numbers are rising.
Even zero-emission vehicles aren’t a perfect solution – more fundamental changes to public transportation are needed to tackle congestion and gridlock, say Zhu and Kelly. They advocate a range of flexible and convenient options for “the last mile.”