The City of Beijing plans to limit its monthly car registrations to just 20,000 over 2011 in order to get control over the amount of traffic in the city. China is the leading automobile market in the world and the restrictions will no doubt drive up the sales numbers for the last few days of December. In fact, over the first two weeks of the month more than 50,000 cars were sold to citizens hoping to get around the restrictions.
Although China was known for the last few decades as the bicycle kingdom of the world, over the year of 2009 in Beijing alone 580,000 cars were sold, and by the end of last year car sales are expected to reach upwards of 850,000. In fact, by the close of 2011 Beijing is expected to have over five million automobiles registered to residents.
As a way to deal with the new restrictions city officials have designed a lottery system for registrations and in order to be eligible for the car lottery citizens must show that they have paid their personal taxes and social security over the past five years.
Parking prices within the city are also due to rise by the month of April and city officials are considering adding additional driving restrictions that will resemble those that were put in place to control traffic during the Olympic Games in the city.
In addition, Beijing officials plan to help lessen traffic congestion by expanding its bicycle lane and subway networks as well as building underground highways that will help minimize the amount of traffic near city buildings.