Monday, 9 July 2012

Shenzhen planning for congestion charge but no details yet

Environmental website Cleanbiz Asia reports that Chinese city Shenzhen (located just across the border from Hong Kong SAR has announced it intends to introduce congestion pricing by 2016. It reports:

Shenzhen has 2 million registered vehicles; five years ago it had one million and its maximum capacity is thought to be 2.1 million vehicles. According to Shenzhen’s traffic bureau the city’s vehicle density is the highest in China, with 300 vehicles for every kilometer of road.

70 per cent polled in a recent survey said they opposed the measure.

Shenzhen will introduce a number of green measures alongside its congestion charging plans. These include awarding drivers for taking their vehicles off the roads for 30 days with discounted parking and insurance premiums. The city also plans to add electric buses and taxis to its streets, in a bid to reduce pollution.


There is no more information about the proposal, which given it was first mooted in 2007, is surprising.  Clearly not a lot of detailed work has been done or made publicly available. 

Xinhua News Agency reports further:

Wang Guowen, a researcher from the Shenzhen Comprehensive Development Institute, said the collection of congestion fees indicates the government is learning the experience of some other countries and regions to tackle traffic problems by introducing market principles.

Lu Huapu, a professor from Tsinghua University, said collecting congestion fees would certainly help ease traffic jams in Shenzhen, but it cannot tackle the problem at its roots.


The city is also expected to introduce HOV lanes, which begs the question as to whether these might end up being HOT lanes, if the city can overcome obvious enforcement issues.  There is, as can be expected, ambitious plans for road building and expansion of public transport networks.  

As can be seen below, the issue with Shenzhen is where it ends and another metropolis begins.

Shenzhen with Hong Kong border in yellow
Shenzhen connected to its wider metropolis

The bigger question is whether it or Beijing will be the first Chinese city to introduce congestion pricing.

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