Can urban rail transit reduce haze pollution? A spatial difference-in-differences approach

This paper explores the influence and mechanism of urban rail transit on haze pollution in mainland China. Based on the satellite remote sensing dataset released by the Earth Observing System of Data and Information System (EOSDIS) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and urban rail transit network data of Robert Schwan, the prefecture-year urban rail transit and haze concentration-related dataset from 2001 to 2018 is collected. Considering the significant spatial autocorrelation of urban haze pollution, a spatial difference-in-differences (SDID) approach is applied to empirically investigate the influence of urban rail transit on haze pollution. The results show that the connection of urban rail transit significantly reduces the urban PM2.5 concentration, and the effect has significant regional heterogeneity. Furthermore, it is found that the substitution effect on motor vehicles is the mechanism in which urban rail transit impacts haze pollution. Based on our findings, accelerating urban rail transit network support, appropriately relaxing the subway application in some large cities, and taking comprehensive measures to attract more residents to choose subway travel is proposed.

» Publication Date: 22/06/2022

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 768737


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