This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .
Many cities worldwide have considered vehicle restriction policies to curb proliferating problems of traffic and pollution. At the beginning of 2011, Beijing became the first city to allocate vehicle license plates using a lottery. We provide background on Beijing’s lottery, and analyze its short-term effects. We find that vehicle growth has been sharply curtailed, and congestion has been reduced. However, this policy may not reduce fuel consumption as much as expected.