Shaping carpool policies under rapid motorization: The case of Chinese cities

Rui Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid motorization and fuel cost hike over the past few years have made carpool a new mode of travel in Chinese cities. But transportation policy makers have been rather ambivalent, if not indifferent, about carpool. Unlike cities in highly motorized societies, little is known about carpooling behavior in emerging economies such as China. This paper provides an initial discussion of carpooling in China by exploring a series of questions. What are the current practice and issues of carpool in Chinese cities? How do carpools in China compare with those in the motorized Western cities? Can carpools help Chinese cities mitigate the negative impacts of rapid motorization? Are foreign policies such as High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes transferable to China? Acknowledging the social benefits of voluntary carpooling, this paper argues: (1) bus lanes may be a better choice than HOV lanes when converting general motor vehicle lanes; (2) policies subsidizing carpoolers cannot be justified on either efficiency or equity grounds because a marginal carpooler is more likely transitioning from a transit user or non-motorized traveler than from a driver. Policy suggestions are proposed to Chinese decision makers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-635
Number of pages5
JournalTransport Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Carpool
  • Chinese city
  • HOV
  • Transport policy


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