Sections of the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway are closed due to the dense haze in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 6, 2013. The national meteorological center issued a yellow alert for haze on Sunday, warning the serious air pollution and lower visibility. [Photo: Xinhua]
Beijing's municipal government passed an emergency plan on Wednesday to alleviate the city's severe decline in air quality. The plan stipulates that driving allowances will be restricted based on license plate numbers when heavy pollution is expected to persist for three days in a row or more.
This measure will nearly halve the number of cars on the capital's roads during days with heavy pollution. Moreover, the rule will also extend to about 30 percent of official vehicles and all vehicles being used in construction or restoration.
License plate numbers ending in an odd number will be suspended on dates with odd numbers, while even numbers, starting from zero, will not be allowed to travel in Beijing on dates with even numbers.
Traffic control information will be released through Beijing Television, the Beijing People's Broadcasting Station, the municipal government's microblog via text message, mobile applications of "Beijing service" and roadside LED displays. The plan states that residents will be informed at least 12 hours in advance.
It is estimated that two million people will be affected by the rule, causing those who can't drive in the city to take public transportation.
The even-and-odd-number traffic rule was notably enforced during the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games to ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in Beijing.