Development & Education

Chinese City Wants Fewer Cars and Cleaner Air

Follow the Pearl River to find this mega city on a map of southern China.

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Its population dwarves New York City. Some 12 million people live in this city located 75 miles north west of Hong Kong, with as many as 40 million in the surrounding region.

Some of China's major automotive assembly plants are located here, including Honda and Toyota plants. Cars and trucks represent a centerpiece of the city's economy but they're also major contributors to gridlock and pollution. So city officials, with little warning earlier this summer, launched a plan to drastically cut the number of cars on the streets. Drivers have to enter a car lottery or bid high in the license plate auction to earn the right to buy a new car.

So where on the Pearl River is this auto revolution happening?

The answer is Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.

There's a small automotive revolution taking place in Guangzhou. New York Times Hong Kong bureau chief Keith Bradsher writes about the strict new guidelines that were introduced this summer to limit the number of new cars on China's crowded streets.