The government of Beijing, China, is considering passing a new law which would cut traffic by about 50 percent.
Billed as an effort to curb the city's seemingly never-ending gridlock problem, the proposed law would specify days when only vehicles with an even or an odd license plate number are allowed on public streets. It would not be a city-wide ban as only the most congested areas would be affected, and it would only be enforced during the busiest hours of the day.
Over the last decade, Beijing has tried to reduce traffic congestion in many different ways but most have failed. The new law's sponsors claim that it will be effective because it is aimed at specific areas and specific windows of time during the day.
Be that as it may, the proposed measure leaves several high-placed members of Beijing's government skeptical.
"I think caution is required. [The new law] could ease traffic congestion in the short term, but it can't solve the problem at the root," said Wang Limei, the secretary general of the China Road Transport Association, in an interview with China Daily.
Other critics fear that the law will only affect members of the lower and middle classes who only have a single car in their household.
"Rich people can buy two or even four or five cars to evade the odd-even car plate measure," said a businessman.
A similar measure was enforced for two months in 2008 to prepare for the Olympic Games. During that time, traffic decreased by 21 percent on big roads and the average speed on all roads went up by 27 percent.
Photo by Ronan Glon.