Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (10): 1316-1330.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201310002

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Jobs-housing balance and commute efficiency in cities of central and western China:A case study of Xi’an

ZHOU Jiangping1, CHEN Xiaojian2, HUANG Wei3, YU Peng3, ZHANG Chun4   

  1. 1. Department of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA;
    2. School of Architecture, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi'an 710055, China;
    3. China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, Beijing 100037, China;
    4. School of Architecture and Design, Beijing Jiaotong Universty, Beijing 100044, China
  • Received:2012-11-28 Revised:2013-04-10 Online:2013-10-20 Published:2013-10-20
  • Supported by:
    Iowa State University New Faculty Start-up Package, No.ISU286252967; Iowa State University Foreign Travel Grant, No.20121017

Abstract: Jobs-housing balance is an inevitable topic and even strategy in most urban plans and policies aimed at reducing car dependence, increasing public transportation's attractiveness and/or improving quality of life. Existing studies of jobs-housing balance have rarely focused on developing cities, in particular, those in central and western China. This manuscript proposes that there are six groups of factors affecting jobs-housing balance, which notably influence commute efficiency. Those factors exert different impacts on jobs-housing balance in cities at different development stages. There is need to single out specific factors influencing developing cities' jobs-housing balance so as to better improve their jobs-housing balance and commute efficiency. Improved jobs-housing balance and commute efficiency should help the developing cities gain advantages in terms of attracting and keeping talented workers and increasing their competitiveness in traffic mobility, quality of life and sustainability. Based on 59,967 samples of the 2011 Xi'an City-Wide Household Travel Survey, this paper investigates the commute efficiency, jobs-housing balance and excess commute in Xi'an. It also compares relevant indictors of Xi'an with those in other Chinese and international cities whenever possible. It finds that Xi'an has a shorter actual average commuting distance and higher commute efficiency than most other cities that have been studied in existing literature. Average commuting distance in Xi'an is found to be negatively correlated to jobs-resident ratio and total number of employment. Danwei compounds in the city still have decent jobs-housing balance and commuting efficiency but this pattern is changing.

Key words: jobs-housing balance, commute efficiency, Xi’an, excessive commute