Addressing the environmental challenges that are a result of the ballooning Chinese economy is becoming an increasingly important national priority. Today, China has the highest number of deaths linked to ambient air pollution of any other country in the world. The transport sector contributes significantly to this pollution. To address these issues, several Chinese cities have chosen to implement the vehicle quota system (VQS). In 2012, VQS was implemented in Guangzhou and the rate of vehicle ownership plummeted from 18% to 5% in just over a year. This thesis explores public attitudes and the local government’s motivation for implementing this policy through qualitative interviews with local experts and residents. It is important to have a better understanding of the human dimensions of the steps China is taking to tackle the highly intertwined problems of air pollution and traffic congestion. It is equally as important to understand that the quota approach is an alternative to other transport policies making it particularly interesting to research. There are various local adaptations to the VQS policy and I explore various explanations for this to demonstrate the complexity of policy implementation in China. In Guangzhou, there are two options for people who want a license to own a car registered in the municipality – lottery or auction. Guangzhou stands out from other cities with VQS in not restricting cars registered outside to enter the city. These adaptations sustain people’s definitional power of own car purchase, enabled by a fundamental level of government trust. Additionally, I argue that the seriousness of air pollution and traffic congestion is perceived in relative terms, calling into question a link between problem perception and policy acceptance.