Via the SHIFT list, where this has engendered much discussion…
Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — China plans to ban cars from streets in 108 cities in its first ‘No Car Day’ on Sept. 22, part of an effort to promote environmental protection and ease congestion in the world’s second-largest auto market.
Streets in areas of Beijing, Shanghai and other cities will be open only to pedestrians, bicycles, taxis and buses from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to the Ministry of Construction. Sept. 22 is World Carfree Day, a United Nations-backed global campaign.
About 4.37 million new vehicles began using China’s roads in the first half as economic growth makes cars and trucks affordable to more people. Growth in traffic helped China surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest carbon-dioxide emitter last year.
‘No Car Day’ will cut 3,000 tons of emissions and save 33 million liters of gasoline, according to the ministry.
8 responses to “Car Free Day in China”
I wish we could do that here. But I guess you can’t get in between people and their SUVs.
While impressive simply based on the scale of the event, I find it to be a more than a bit draconian. People often toss around the term “social engineering” on this web site, but leave it to the Chinese to show what an authoritarian central government can really do.
I’d much rather they tie this event to specific cities and specific reasons, such as genuine “clean air action days” and the Beijing Olympics.
Doing this as a nationwide event seems to be aimed at making an impression on the outside world while inconveniencing their own people without a specific mandate.
– Bob R.
This does sound like a “New World Order”-type proclamation, but that’s as far as I’ll go in that regard (I have another place to put on the ‘tin foil hat!’).
…I guess you can’t get in between people and their SUVs.
People often toss around the term “social engineering….”
My guess is if that were tried here, it would have no effect (some people would probably even feel they have a further reason to drive an SUV, minivan, etc., on that day) and be unenforceable because we have far less police than the true ‘mandate-without-reason’ countries. IIRC, some European country tried banning cars for a day maybe 10 years ago and it failed miserably.
It’s a great idea but this is America, it would cause a “restraint” of trade therefore it could never actually happen.
I don’t see any benefit to this. It’s a stunt, nothing more. If implemented in Portland (say, we blocked downtown to cars for one day), the most likely effect would be jammed public transit, a lot of people taking the day off of work, cars stacked up outside downtown (people would walk the last few blocks), and park & ride lots overflowing to neighborhood street.
And most likely, downtown merchants would have a horrible day as numerous people simply put off their shopping trips for a later date.
I much prefer voluntary “car-free challenge” type stuff. Cheaper, non-coercive, and it has a greater chance of bringing about real changes in behavior over the long run.
Why doesn’t the government offer incentives to employers to allow their employees to telecommute, work different shifts, 4×10’s, etc? It seems this would be a better use of tax money than building more toy trains to nowhere and expensive street and highway maintenance.
Why doesn’t the government offer incentives to employers to allow their employees to telecommute, work different shifts, 4×10’s, etc?
I suppose that it could be difficult to verify that an employer is actually allowing telecommuting, 4×10’s, etc, but maybe as a reward offer to discount the TriMet tax liability somewhat?
“Why doesn’t the government offer incentives to employers to allow their employees to telecommute, work different shifts, 4×10’s, etc?”
Projects that reduce employee commuting or work-related travel and investments in cleaner-burning transportation fuels may qualify for a tax credit.”
The company I work for got a tax credit as part of our new phone system, as well as on a few other pieces of computer equipment, (a big fancy KVM switch.) Of course, making it easier for me to work from home doesn’t save that much energy, (since I bike,) but it has come in handy other times too…