Can smart transportation inhibit carbon lock-in? The case of China

Kangyin Dong, Rongwen Jia, Congyu Zhao (Corresponding Author), Kun Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A thorough understanding of carbon lock-in is an essential precondition for the effective design and continuous improvement of climate policy. Based on a balanced panel dataset of 30 provinces in China during the period 2002–2021, we explore the nexus between smart transportation and carbon lock-in using the System-Generalized Method of Moments (SYS-GMM) model. We also investigate the heterogeneous, asymmetric, and threshold effects among the above two issues, and examine three internal impact mechanisms. We thus arrive at the following four main conclusions: (1) Smart transportation significantly reduces carbon lock-in, highlighting its importance in eradicating carbon lock-in. (2) Smart transportation has the most pronounced impact on carbon lock-in in the central region, and can effectively mitigate all aspects of carbon lock-in, especially industry lock-in and institution lock-in. (3) Smart transportation is more effective in alleviating carbon lock-in in provinces with a higher level of carbon lock-in. Moreover, a threshold of environmental regulation exists between smart transportation and carbon lock-in, with stricter environmental regulation leading to a stronger carbon lock-in reduction effect of smart transportation. (4) Smart transportation indirectly influences carbon lock-in through three channels of economic scale, industrial structure upgrading, and technological innovation. Based on these findings, we propose some policy recommendations for smart transportation development and carbon lock-in mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Carbon lock-in
  • China
  • Mediating effect model
  • Smart transportation
  • Threshold effect model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Law


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