Travel Behavior, Energy Use, and Carbon Emissions: Evidence from Shenzhen, China

HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2016-35


Shengyuan Zhang, Jimin Zhao, Albert Park

In many developing and emerging economies, rapid income growth and changing demographics is leading to heightened demand for energy-intensive urban transportation. This study provides a comprehensive empirical framework for analyzing how income, age, and education influence individual energy use and carbon emissions through multiple dimensions of travel behavior, including number of trips, trip distance, transportation mode choice, vehicle ownership, and fuel economy of cars. Analyzing travel diary survey data collected by the authors in Shenzhen in 2014, we find that energy consumption and carbon emissions increase almost proportionally to income, and that older age and more education increase energy use and carbon emissions substantially, with the relative importance of different channels varying by factor.

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