The Indian capital has kicked off a sweeping plan to reduce its record-high air pollution by limiting the numbers of cars on the streets for two weeks.

New Delhi is testing a formula where private cars will be allowed on the roads only on alternate days from Jan. 1-15, depending on whether their license plates end in an even or an odd number.

On Friday, most cars appeared to be following the rules and traffic was a tiny trickle compared to the usual rush-hour chaos. But with all schools and colleges and many offices shut, the traffic volumes were not truly indicative of the plan's success.

Top politicians, judges, police and prison officials, women and sick people and motorbikes are exempt from the new rules.