Pollution and Road Infrastructure in Cities of the People’s Republic of China

Publication | April 2017

While wider roads or more lanes can reduce vehicle emissions and help people be more mobile and efficient, longer roads can increase emissions, although not in a statistically significant way.

Urban road infrastructure is crucial in determining air pollution. Yet, little is known about the roles played by road width versus road length. We attempt to fill this gap by estimating the effects of road infrastructure on 10-micron particulate matter (PM10) using city-level data from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Our robust modeling results show that the road density index, defined as the ratio of surface area of roads to city territory size, is negatively correlated with PM10. More importantly, when the index of road density is decomposed into road width and road length components, the width is found to help reduce PM10, whereas the length is positively correlated with PM10, although the latter relationship is statistically insignificant.


Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Transport
  • Urban development
  • China, People's Republic of