Spatiotemporal evolution of China's railway network in the 20th century: An accessibility approach

The interrelatedness of transportation development and economic growth has been a constant theme of geographic inquiries, particularly in economic and transportation geography. This paper analyzes the expansion of China's railway network, the evolution of its spatial accessibility, and the impacts on economic growth and urban systems over a time span of about one century (1906-2000). First, major historical events and policies and their effects on railway development in China are reviewed and grouped into four major eras: preliminary construction, network skeleton, corridor building, and deep intensification. All four eras followed a path of "inland expansion." Second, spatial distribution of accessibility and its evolution are analyzed. The spatial structure of China's railway network is characterized by "concentric rings" with its major axis in North China and the most accessible city gradually migrating from Tianjin to Zhengzhou. Finally, the study indicates that railway network expansion has significantly improved economic development and heavily influenced the formation of urban systems in China.


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  • Accession Number: 01142873
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 24 2009 9:47AM