Congestion and Pollution Consequences of Driving-to-School Trips: A Case Study in Beijing

Posted: 11 Nov 2019

See all articles by Ming Lu

Ming Lu

Fudan University - School of Economics

Siqi Zheng

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning; Hang Lung Center for Real Estate, Tsinghua University

Cong Sun

Tsinghua University

Date Written: October 30, 2019

Abstract

Parents compete for high-quality education for their children by enrolling them in good schools. However, in a Chinese mega-city like Beijing, three factors jointly lead to the spatial separation between schools and homes: the centralized public goods provision mechanism, the historical dependency in school location, and the constrained supply of housing in downtown. Without an adequate number of school buses, this spatial separation of schools and homes triggers the numerous long-distance driving-to-school trips by private vehicle during workday morning rush hours in Beijing. We use the start and end dates of “school holiday” as exogenous repeated shocks to the aggregate traffic congestion, and employ the two-stage least squares (2SLS) regression approach to examine the congestion and pollution consequences of such driving-to-school trips in Beijing. We find that, all else being equal, workdays during school holidays have a traffic congestion index 20% lower than that of non-school-holiday workdays. Such a sharp reduction in congestion leads to a significant decrease in PM10 concentration. Policymakers should lower such “extra” congestion and environmental costs via optimizing the spatial balance between school supply and demand.

Suggested Citation

Lu, Ming and Zheng, Siqi and Sun, Cong, Congestion and Pollution Consequences of Driving-to-School Trips: A Case Study in Beijing (October 30, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3478226

Ming Lu

Fudan University - School of Economics ( email )

600 GuoQuan Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

Siqi Zheng (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate ( email )

Building 9-323
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://siqizheng.mit.edu/

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Hang Lung Center for Real Estate, Tsinghua University ( email )

HeShanHeng Building
Beijing, 100084
China

HOME PAGE: http://https://siqizheng.mit.edu/

Cong Sun

Tsinghua University ( email )

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