Shanghai’s Non-Local Vehicles as A Dilemma in Transportation Policy Transfer from Singapore

TitleShanghai’s Non-Local Vehicles as A Dilemma in Transportation Policy Transfer from Singapore
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsXiaojie Chen, Jinhua Zhao
Conference Name13th World Conference on Transport Research
PublisherWorld Conference on Transport Research Society
Conference LocationRio de Janeiro
Keywordslicense auction policy, non-local vehicles, open city, policy transfer

Chinese cities have adopted many policy strategies internationally that have created many problems due to the differences in local context and institutional structure. In this paper the authors report an example of automobile license auction policy transferred from Singapore to Shanghai, and how a technical issue of non-local vehicles raised a dilemma for Shanghai government in the trade-off between congestion management and openness of Shanghai as a metropolitan center. The government sets up a total quota each month and requires every car owner to join a bidding process to obtain a vehicle license. As Shanghai license prices continue to increase, many Shanghai residents get a non-local license outside Shanghai for a much cheaper price. The problem of non-local vehicles is a unique phenomenon that only happens in Shanghai that waters down the policy effectiveness, and results in challenges in traffic management. It also results in large revenue loss outside Shanghai, exacerbates equity concerns among Shanghai car owners, and decreases trustworthiness of government policy. Singapore as a state-city has no non-local vehicles, but Shanghai as a city within a region, is facing the dilemma of further controlling non-local vehicles to mitigate congestion versus the city’s openness to promote inter-city trade. Although Shanghai has taken actions in controlling non-local vehicles through both internal policy refinement and regional collaboration, it has hesitated in posing harsher restrictions. Public views vary across different dimensions and two variables show the largest impact on attitude: car ownership and license type, and residence status. The public do understand Shanghai’s dilemma and the importance of the city to remain open as the public opposes further restrictions on non-local vehicles. Even local license owners and locally-born residents, who are most likely in favour of further restrictions, do not want harsh restrictions banning non-local vehicles.