Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary


The analysis in this paper is designed to find out whether the vehicle use restriction policy issued by Beijing Municipal Government contributed to a change of air quality in 2014. I analyze both Chinese data and data collected by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in order to determine whether the type of data used makes a difference to the findings.


I conduct a regression analysis with time series data. The analysis unit is the day. The main independent variable is the holiday schedule during 2014 that determined whether the restriction policy was in place or not. There are two dependent variables. One is the air quality (PM 10) at 8:00 am each day in 2014. These data stem from the Chinese authorities. The other dependent variable is the air quality based on the PM 2.5 standard at 8:00 am each day. These data stem from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The reason I chose the data at 8:00 am is that traffic reaches its peak around 8:00 am in Beijing’s urban areas.

Key finding:

There is no evidence that the vehicle use restriction policy affected air quality in Beijing urban areas during the morning rush hour in 2014. Coal burning in winter, precipitation also cannot affect air quality statistically. The only factor that can improve air quality is wind speed. In addition, data from US Embassy indicate that air quality in Beijing urban areas was worse than the data report from Chinese government.