The rising prevalence of private cars in the developing world is causing serious congestion and pollution. In China, private cars started to emerge as an important travel mode in the past decade. Prospective research on the relationship between urban form and car ownership is relatively uncommon in the developing world, and China offers a unique study opportunity, given the tremendous increases in private cars and fast-paced urbanization over the past decade. This study investigates the influence of urban form on car ownership as well as the impact of other socioeconomic and demographic factors on private car ownership across megacities in China. Analysis was conducted through the use of data from 36 megacities and two household survey data sets collected in Beijing and the city of Chengdu, China. Ordinary least squares regression and discrete choice models were employed to execute the aggregate and disaggregate analysis of the urban form impact on private car ownership across cities. The statistical model results demonstrate that urban affluence, urban scale, and road infrastructure supply factors have significant positive effects on the city level of private car ownership across cities. Population density calculated at the subdistrict level, however, had a significant negative effect on private car ownership across cities. Households with private cars were found to prefer to live close to urban centers where amenities were readily available. The results provide evidence for urban planners and policy makers.
This paper uses data from the Project's household survey in Chengdu, Sichuan.