Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 4000–4012 | Cite as

The impact of public transportation on carbon emissions: a panel quantile analysis based on Chinese provincial data

  • Yong Jiang
  • Zhongbao Zhou
  • Cenjie LiuEmail author
Research Article


Although the Chinese government emphasizes the significance of public transportation development and encourages green travel, no empirical study has examined whether the expansion of public transportation facilitates the mitigation of carbon emissions. To this end, we employ a panel quantile regression to test the endogenous relationship between public transportation scale and carbon emissions. The results suggest that the effect of public transportation scale on carbon emissions is heterogeneous across China’s provinces based on the level of carbon emissions. Even so, the results still support a stable inverted U-shaped relationship between public transportation scale and carbon emissions for provinces with different levels of carbon emissions. That is, when public transportation scale exceeds a threshold value, the relationship between public transportation and carbon emissions will turn from positive to negative. Our findings provide evidence advocating for public transportation development and green travel. It is of great significance for China to respond to climate changes.


Public transportation Carbon emissions Quantile regression Inverted U-shaped 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 71771082, 71371067, 71431008) and Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 2017JJ1012).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business School, Hunan UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China

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