Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (6): 745-757.doi: 10.11821/xb201206003

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The Spatio-temporal Variations of Urban Private Car Ownership in China and Their Influencing Factors

HUANG Xiaoyan1,2, CAO Xiaoshu1, LI Tao1   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, Sichuan, China
  • Received:2011-08-24 Revised:2012-02-15 Online:2012-06-20 Published:2012-06-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171139; No.41130747

Abstract: Based on the data of 235 cities in China, this paper explored the spatio-temporal variations of urban private car ownership in China from 1990 to 2009. Then, selecting 10 explanatory variables and building panel data model, this paper analyzed the factors determining the growth in urban private car ownership in China, and also quantified the relative importance of each explanatory variable to private car ownership growth. The empirical results are shown as follows. (1) The development of urban private car ownership presented a phasic variation characteristic, and had significant spatial agglomeration and regional differentiation. (2) Spatial disparities of private car ownership increased first and then decreased, presenting an inverted U-shaped pattern. Since 2000, inter-regional spatial disparities of private car ownership have decreased, while intra-regional disparities have increased. (3) Economic factors were the primary determinants of private car ownership. The variation of private car ownership presented an S-shaped curve with income increases. Urbanization level has significantly positive effect on private car ownership, while it has negative effectin metropolises and mega-cities. (4) The rise of city scale with urban spatial expansion would lead to increased demand for private vehicles use. Increases of urban population density can inhibit the rapid increase of private car ownership. (5) The development of public transportation and taxi can inhibit the increase of the number of private cars in Chinese cities to a certain degree, but not notable. With the expansion of city scale, the inhibiting effect of the development of public transportation on the increase of the quantity of private cars increased.

Key words: private car ownership, spatio-temporal characteristics, influencing factors, China