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Car-free zones were introduced in areas near Beijing Olympic Park, the bustling commercial street of Wangfujing, and popular tourist destination Nanluoguxiang on Sunday.
Residents were encouraged to get around by foot, bicycle or use public transportation, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.
In order to make traveling across the city more convenient, all 17 subway lines will extend their service time for 30 minutes on Sunday.
Government officials and locals took part to support the city's efforts in promoting green transportation and bringing about cleaner air.
However, as the first workday after the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival, and the day that cars are not required to be taken off the road based on their license plate numbers, Sunday's traffic was unlikely to ease much, especially during peak times, the commission predicted.
Other cities took part as well.
In Zhengzhou, capital city of central China's Henan Province, 90 percent of government cars were not allowed to be on the road.
Shanghai Public Transportation Card Company held a public transportation promotion and offered a lottery with 1 million yuan ($163,400) worth of gifts.
It is the seventh year that the country has observed Car Free Day.