With the exponential growth of the national vehicle fleet in the last three decades, most cities in China are facing mounting pressure to tackle congestion and air pollution problems caused by motor vehicles. Beijing, the capital city, is a good case to study how municipal governments address those issues. To alleviate road congestion and pollution, the government has invested heavily in road infrastructure, advanced traffic management technology and also introduced stringent standards on vehicular emissions. However, city planners have been over-relying on command and control measures including travel demand management, which have proven to be costly and inefficient in controlling motor vehicle ownership and usage—the fundamental causes of congestion and emissions. Economic measures including road pricing and vehicle registration auction schemes are superior and should be adopted in travel demand management in the future.