SURF

Diwen Shen

Unveiling Travel Mode Shift Since the 2007 Beijing Public Transit Fare Reform

In 2010, Beijing, Chinas capital and second largest city, topped the Worlds Worst Traffic list by Foreign Policy. Back in 2007, Beijing cut transit fares up to 80% to increase transit ridership and reduce traffic congestion ahead of the Olympics. The purpose of reducing car use was not achieved, but large shifts occurred between usage of non-car travel modes bicycles, subways and buses. How have urban residents in Beijing, China shifted their primary travel modes since the 2007 Public Transit Fare Reform? Low fare prices have been insufficient for attracting transit demand; other factors such as time, service quality, personal preferences and demographics have been overlooked. Government surveys only record respondents means of travel each year but do not track how or why their choices have switched over time. Through a survey, my research will bridge this gap by studying the rationale of travel mode shifting, and recommend policies that are more effective.

Message to Sponsor

Beijing's government-controlled low transit fares is inefficient in many ways. The greater picture is a policy debate between government intervention and the free market an important discussion for thousands of Chinese cities transitioning from central-planned economies. In 2013, I wrote a research paper that analyzed all publicly available data on Beijings transit sector and received an A+. Thanks to SURF and the Wishek Fund, I am able to carry my interests further through rigorous field research and gather data on my own. Combined in the process are applying for funding, understanding human subjects protection, and approaching and working closely with faculty and Ph.D. students. No doubt this will be a valuable experience.
  • Major: Economics, Statistics
  • Sponsor: Wishek SURF fellow
  • Mentor: Calanit Kamala, Economics