I just stumbled across this 10/19/09 China Daily article on Beijing’s future vehicle population:
As many as 5.5 million cars will be on Beijing’s roads by 2015, although the growth rate will stabilize in the next five years, a senior local transport official said.
Beijing’s car community will hit 4 million by the beginning of next year and will then grow by an average of 300,000 cars a year, compared to the present rate of 400,000, to reach 5.5 million in 2015, Liu Xiaoming, director of the Beijing municipal committee of communications, said.
Liu said the municipal government would not restrict the number of cars on the road at the moment, but would not rule out doing so in the future.
“But efforts would be made to reduce public needs for cars and restrict their use and parking through overall traffic planning and related policies,” he said.
By next year, Beijing’s car community will have grown by 1 million in only two-and-a-half years. It took cities like Tokyo 12 years to reach that rate of growth.
Putting this projection together with historical data from the China National Bureau of Statistics yields this graph:
Given the extreme traffic we are already experiencing, it is hard to imagine how this city is going to cope with 1.5 million more vehicles over the next five years.
By the way, in the China Daily article, I am certain they meant to say “vehicles” instead of “cars” in all cases. Vehicles includes trucks and buses.
Sources and additional references:
China Statistical Yearbook, 1998-2008
China Daily, 2/17/09: China has more cars on roads
Beijing Traffic Management Bureau: Beijing’s Vehicle Population Reached 3,765,000
China Daily, 9/18/09: Extra 2,000 cars on road everyday
China Daily, 10/19/09: Automobile numbers could be capped