Local car owners who refrain from driving for a certain number of days will be eligible to not only enjoy the privilege of being exempt from punishment for minor traffic violations, but also receive awards like free roadside parking, according to a soon-to-be-unveiled plan.
In a letter responding to the city’s lawmakers, the traffic police authority said that the number of vehicles registered in Shenzhen has reached 3.5 million, and the city ranks No. 1 in terms of vehicle density among Chinese cities. The new rules are aimed at encouraging green commuting and the use of public transport. The number of days required to be eligible for free roadside parking has yet to be decided.
Shenzhen has been promoting the green commuting concept since 2011, when the 26th Universiade was held in the city. Since September last year, traffic police have simplified the application procedure for driving suspension to encourage local residents to resort to public transport for commuting.
By this September, local drivers had filed 3.15 million applications for driving suspension for an accumulative 5.42 million days. Statistics show that every 100,000 car owners who suspend driving for 1.72 days can help reduce 48,000 tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to planting 26,000 trees.
These car owners were honored and awarded with discounts on purchasing vehicle insurance or the option to exchange the points they had accumulated in their carbon accounts for gifts.
However, the incentives haven’t been enough of a stimulus to attract wider participation in green commuting. Lawmakers have suggested expanding the awarding channels.
The city’s traffic police and the road traffic center are working on the details for offering free roadside parking to drivers to encourage them to suspend using private cars for a certain number of days. The road traffic center will also send out cash rewards, based on a calculation factoring in the number of days, to the drivers’ accounts in order to encourage green commuting.