September 2nd, 2008

So it seems the odds/evens traffic restrictions have got people thinking. 新京报/The Beijing News’ Beijing news page is chock full of articles about the results of a recent survey on the subject- and the possible extension of the restrictions beyond the Olympic period. And there’s this page which looks like a scan of a printed copy of the survey results. Warning: It’s really hard on the eyes and difficult to read all of the text.

Another warning: I have absolutely zero training or education in statistics, and I can’t read clearly everything on that page. But, having said that, two things seem clear to me:

  1. Drivers really are selfish gits.
  2. There is clear public support for extension of both the odds/evens traffic restrictions and the public transport network.

Input from those who can read those graphs and the accompanying text more clearly and/or have access to a more readable version and/or actually know something useful about statistics and their interpretation is most welcome, especially if it clears up any possible misapprehensions.

So back to that multitude of stories on the subject: This piece says:


Rate of support for long term odds/evens 68.9%

That’s a reasonably sizeable majority, but of course it needs more than the headline to be looked at:


5058 citizens were surveyed, some car owners said they could buy two cars in response

  本报讯 奥运结束以后,是否对车辆继续实施单双号限行政策,在市民中引发争议。本报委托北京锐智阳光信息咨询公司开展了针对北京市民的调查。调查显示,68.9% 的受访者表示支持,19%的人表示反对,12.1%的人则表示无所谓。其中无车族的支持率比有车族高34.4个百分点。

TBN reports: After the Olympics, whether or not the odds/evens traffic restriction policy on cars should be continued has led to controversy amongst citizens. This newspaper commissioned Beijing Sunny-wise Consulting Company to survey Beijing citizens. The survey showed that 68.9% of those surveyed supported, 19% opposed and 12.1% had no opinion [wangbo: presumably supported/opposed/had no opinion of the odds/evens rule]. The rate of support of those with no car was 34.4 percentage points higher than that of car owners.

There’s more in that article, a paragraph of which covers technicalities of the survey, which I understand are important to interpreting the results, but which I simply have neither the skills, experience or education to handle myself. I’ll leave that up to those who know what they’re on about.

Scrolling down that page we get some key statistics with a little analysis and explanation. I’ll leave the details to those better equipped and just look quickly at the highlights:




  Carless people felt going out was more convenient.


Just a brief breakdown: 57.2% said there were less traffic jams; 53.2% said air quality was better, 44% said there were less cars on the road; but 18.6% said there were more people on the buses and subway, which wasn’t so convenient.



Chose bus or subway when going out on restricted days.

 Odd little note: 4.9% bought a second car to beat the restrictions.



Car owners support the odds/evens traffic restrictions. 

To be honest I’m surprised that figure is so high. Still, it is only a significant minority and falls short of a majority.



Lowers the value of using a car; not fair to car owners.

You won’t find me sympathising with car owners. Their insistence on polluting our air lowers the value of breathing. Personally, I find breathing to be far more important than allowing some self-important git drive everywhere he wants.



Plan to buy a second car in response to long-term restrictions.

I think I’ve made my views clear enough… Fortunately 66.3% said they would use public transport.



Bus and subway hours should be extended. 

Absolutely. Beijing long ago passed the point where 24-hour public transport was necessary.

So all very interesting. Hopefully the traffic restrictions combined with continued investment in and development of the public transport network will continue. I have no doubts about the future of Beijing’s public transport, though, I just hope Beijing’s car owners will be told clearly that they have no natural right to pollute our air and clog our roads.


3 Responses to “mmhmm”

  1. ChinaMatt Says:

    It sort of confirms what my students told me last year in regards to the No Car Day. They said if car owners didn’t drive, they’d lose face…and we all know that no one in China can afford that.

  2. wangbo Says:

    Face is an interesting angle to look at this from, but I don’t see this issue as being any different from nouveau riche presumption and arrogance anywhere else in the world, really.

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