ChinaGSD Lecture: Prof. Jinhua Zhao, “Managing Mobility for China’s Urban Billion: Superficial Fairness, Purposeful Policy Leakage, and Interactive Policy Making”

The astronomical growth in private cars in China, which surpassed the US to become the largest automobile market in 2009, 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 about 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, by 2010 Beijing has 4.8 million whereas Shanghai has only 3.1 million.This talk, however, will present some of the subtleties in these bold designs using Shanghai license auction policy and Beijing’s license lottery policy as a case. Subtleties exist in public attitude towards government policies, in policy details including pricing mechanism and purposeful policy leakage, and in the contrasting equity and efficiency orientations (superficial fairness in Beijing’ lottery vs. efficiency-orientation of Shanghai’s auction). Governments, at least in some cities, are more skilful in synergizing planning and market mechanisms and they do gauge the public and become more amenable though still sensitive. Policy making and public response are increasingly two-way interactive. 

Jinhua Zhao is the Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor of urban planning at DUSP. He holds Master of Science, Master of City Planning and Ph.D. degrees from MIT and a Bachelor’s degree from Tongji University. He studies travel behavior and transportation policy, public transit management, and China’s urbanization and mobility. He’s been working with Chicago, London, Vancouver, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Boston to improve their transportation systems and policies. He sees transportation as a language, to describe a person, to characterize a city, and to understand an institution. Jinhua teaches two new courses at MIT: Urbanizing China, and Behavior and Policy Connections in Transportation. He enjoys working with students very much.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office two weeks in advance at 617 496 2414 or [email protected]

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].