The government has urged people in 108 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, to walk, ride bicycles and use public transport instead of driving cars for a week till September 22.
Initiated by the Ministry of Construction (MOC), the first national urban public transport campaign, "Green Transport and Health", will see one or more special zones in the 108 cities. These will be open only to pedestrians, bicycles, taxis and buses from 7 am to 7 pm on September 22, or the "No Car Day".
The move is an attempt to raise residents' "awareness on energy saving and environmental protection" because the country's cities are plagued by traffic congestions and pollution caused by too many vehicles on the road.
The weeklong campaign will be repeated during the same period every year, the MOC said. MOC Vice-Minister Qiu Baoxing told reporters the campaign will save 33 million liters of gas and cut emissions by 3,000 tons on the "No Car Day". Moreover, it will also reduce the chances of accidents on the cities' roads.
"The move is to highlight the position of public transport, which should play an even bigger role in modern cities to conserve energy and control emissions," he said.
Fifty percent of the commuters in Beijing use public transport, 20 percent ride bicycles or walk and the rest drive private cars. Hopefully, more commuters will use buses and the tube instead of their cars because of the campaign.
The green campaign's "ambitious goal" is to make more than 50 percent commuters use public transport. And government officials have to take the lead in this direction.
Besides, the 108 cities have to adopt at least one new measure to promote green traffic.
Last week, Shanghai municipal government spokeswoman Jiao Yang announced that government official will be adviced not to drive private cars this week and that officials and employees of State-owned enterprises have been discouraged from using private vehicles.
Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, has announced strict rules to ban government-owned cars to make the public traffic week a success.