Policy Equity, Acceptance & Compliance

Mobility is a highly regulated human activity. The range of urban transport policies reflects varying and often conflicting values about efficiency, fairness, acceptance, and the limits of government control. The success of a transport policy hinges on its compatibility with the behavioral responses from the public and context-specific social norms and social goals. JTL attempts to make these normative foundations of transport policies explicit and assess whether policies actually achieve these aspirations. We emphasize the importance of three closely linked policy parameters: public perception of fairness, policy acceptance, and policy compliance.

Legitimacy vs morality: Why do the Chinese obey the law?, Jingkang Gao, and Jinhua Zhao , Law and Human Behavior, Volume 42, Issue 2, (2018)

This study explored two aspects of the rule of law in China: (1) motivations for compliance with 4 groups of everyday laws and regulations and (2) determinants of the legitimacy of legal authorities. We applied a structural equations model, constructed from Tyler’s conceptual process-based self-regulation model with morality added as a motivation, to online questionnaire responses from 1,000 Shanghai drivers. We explored the compliance with four particular groups of laws: public disturbance...

Distributional Effects of Lotteries and Auctions —License Plate Regulations in Guangzhou, Shenhao Wang, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 11/2017, Volume 106, p.473–483, (2017)

Lotteries and auctions are common ways of allocating public resources, but they have rarely been used simultaneously in urban transportation policies. This paper presents a unique policy experiment in Guangzhou, China, where lotteries and auctions are used in conjunction to allocate vehicle licenses. Guangzhou introduced vehicle license regulations to control the monthly quota of local automobile growth in 2012. To obtain a license, residents are required to choose between the lottery and...

Worse than Baumol's disease: The implications of labor productivity, contracting out, and unionization on transit operation costs, Javier Morales-Sarriera, Frederick Salvucci, and Jinhua Zhao , Transport Policy, 10/2017, Volume 61, p.10-16, (2017)

Unit costs measured as bus operating costs per vehicle mile have increased considerably above the inflation rate in recent decades in most transit agencies in the United States. This paper examines the impact of (lack of) productivity growth, union bargaining power, and contracting out on cost escalation. We draw from a 17-year (1997–2014) and a 415-bus transit agency panel with 5780 observations by type of operation (directly operated by the agency or contracted out). We have three main...

Gaining Acceptance by Informing the People? Public Knowledge, Attitudes, and Acceptance of Transportation Policies, Menghan Li, and Jinhua Zhao , Journal of Planning Education and Research, 09/2017, (2017)

We examine the connection between public knowledge and attitudes in the context of urban transportation policies. We categorize policy knowledge into received, subjective, and reasoned knowledge, and measure them empirically using a survey of Shanghai’s residents (n=1,000) on the vehicle license auction policy. We quantify the relationship between the three types of knowledge and public acceptance and its predecessors (perceived effectiveness, affordability, and equity). We find variegated...

Reducing Subway Crowding: Analysis of an Off-peak Discount Experiment in Hong Kong, Anne Halvorsen, Koutsopoulos Haris, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., (2016)

Increases in ridership are outpacing capacity expansions in a number of transit systems. By shifting their focus to demand management, agencies can instead influence how customers use the system, getting more out of the capacity they already have. This paper uses Hong Kong's MTR system as a case study to explore the effects of crowding-reduction strategies as well as methods to use automatically collected fare data to support these measures. MTR introduced a pre-peak discount in September...

Bidding to Drive: Car License Auction Policy in Shanghai and Its Public Acceptance, Xiaojie Chen, and Jinhua Zhao , Transport Policy, Volume 27, p.39–53, (2012)

Increased automobile ownership and use in China over the last two decades has increased energy consumption, worsened air pollution, and exacerbated congestion. However, the countrywide growth in car ownership conceals great variation among cities. For example, Shanghai and Beijing each had about 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, but by 2010, Beijing had 4.8 million motor vehicles whereas Shanghai had only 3.1 million. Among the factors contributing to this divergence is Shanghai’s vehicle...

Transportation Policymaking in Beijing and Shanghai: Contributors, Obstacles and Process, Chun, Jungwoo, Joanna Moody, and Jinhua Zhao , Working paper, (2018)

With continued motorization and urbanization in Chinese cities, there is a growing demand for innovative transportation policies at the city level to address the challenges of congestion, local air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Using Beijing and Shanghai as case studies, this paper draws on 32 in-depth semi-structured interviews with municipal government officials, academics, and transportation professionals to explore the city-level transportation policymaking process in China....

An Urban Agenda for Autonomous Vehicles: Embedding Planning Principles into Technological Deployment, Yonah Freemark, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2018)

The deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) has spawned a considerable literature on the role of national and state-level governments in regulating components of AV manufacturing, emissions, safety, licensing, and data sharing. These provide insight into how AVs can be integrated into the current transportation system. Yet the potential for local governments to shape their futures through AV policies is underexplored. This paper argues that it is both necessary and feasible for...

Normative and Image Motivations for Compliance with Sustainable Transportation Policy, Jingkang Gao, and Jinhua Zhao , Urban Studies, (2016)

Compliance with laws and regulations intended to protect common pool resources in the urban context is essential in tackling problems such as pollution and congestion. A high level of non-compliance necessitates an investigation into motivations behind compliance. The long-held instrumental theory emphasising the dependence of compliance on tangible deterrence measures fails to adequately explain empirical findings. More recently...
Traffic Law Compliance by Chinese Drivers: Demographics and Motivations, Jingkang Gao, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting, (2017)

Research on Chinese traffic law compliance is lacking compared to the West. Yet it is increasingly important because of explosive recent growth of cars in China. Although demographic attributes such as age and gender and certain driver characteristics such as experience and annual mileage have been studied in regard to traffic law compliance, normative and instrumental motivations for compliance have not been thoroughly studied. Normative motivations specifically have not been fully...

Modeling Saliency in Transportation Pricing: Optimal Mixture of Automobile Management Policies, Alyona Michel, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2015)

We introduce the advantage of behavioral economics into the transportation policy evaluation criteria that traditional economic approaches do not consider. To that end, we present a framework for using tax salience as a connection between the dimensions of government policy objectives (revenue, behavior change, and public acceptance) with tax instruments (car ownership charge, fuel tax, congestion tax, parking fee) meant to influence behavior. Salience is the psychological effect of paying...

The Formation of a Transport Policy Market in China: From Policy Transfer to Policy Mobility, Jinhua Zhao, and Zhongyue Wang , Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2014)

Policy travel, a series of processes in which policies are transmitted and, possibly, mutated through a network of policy-making sites, plays an important role in China’s rapid transportation development. This paper examines the Chinese transport policy market framework: its formation, components and transactions. The study is based on 30in-depth interviews with politicians, technicians and academics involved in transport policy and 14 transportation policies discussed in 11 Chinese cities....

Lotteries vs. Auctions: China’s Experiments in Managing Automobile Growth, David Block-Schachter, and Jinhua Zhao , Asia Pacific Memo, Number 4 April 2015, Vancouver, (2013)

The astronomical growth in the number of private cars in China has led to very visible environmental crises and congestion. But the nationwide increase conceals crucial policy differences between cities that influence effectiveness, revenue, efficiency, equity and public acceptance.  While Shanghai and Beijing each had approximately 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, by 2010 Beijing had 4.8 million versus Shanghai’s 3.1 million.  By 2011, 38% of Beijing households were vehicle owners in...

Superficial Fairness of Transportation Policies: Case of Beijing’s Car License Lottery, Jinhua Zhao, and Shenhao Wang , Working paper, (2017)

Problem, Research Strategy, and Findings 
“Fairness,” though commonly invoked as an evaluative metric in transportation policy, remains an ambiguous concept. This paper provides a three-layer framework for assessing the fairness of transportation policies. The first layer differentiates substantive, perceived, and procedural fairness; the second layer concerns the concrete rules of assessing these three aspects; the third layer concerns the categorization of people. The framework also...

Team Member

Jungwoo Chun's picture
PhD Student
Yonah Freemark's picture
PhD Candidate
Jake Gao's picture
MST Student
Menghan Li's picture
MST Student
Joanna Moody's picture
Ph.D. Candidate
Javier Morales Sarriera's picture
Neema Nassir's picture
Assistant Professor at University of Melbourne
Jeffrey Rosenblum's picture
PhD Candidate
Shenhao Wang's picture
PhD Candidate
Annie Hudson's picture
MCP/MST Student
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Associate Professor