Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (8): 1508-1519.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201708013

• Transport Logistics • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comparison of spatial structure and organization mode of inter-city networks from the perspective of railway and air passenger flow

Jiaoe WANG1,2(), Yue JING1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-06-23 Revised:2017-02-21 Online:2017-08-20 Published:2017-08-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371143;Funded by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS


As traffic flow reflects the socio-economic relations between cities, it is widely applied as a key factor in studies on city networks. Based on the inter-city railway and air passenger flow in 2010, this article made a comparison of the spatial structure and passenger flow organization of inter-city networks from the perspective of railway and air passenger flow, in terms of node, linkage, and community. The results are as follows: (1) Both city networks based on railway and air passenger flow present a hierarchical structure with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou being the top three, while the nodes in the lower classes of two networks are different. (2) The spatial structure of linkages between cities based on railway passenger flow displays strong neighborhood effect. In contrast, the cities' own characteristics play a dominant role in the organization of air passenger flow. (3) Most of the dominant railway passenger flow is directed to the capital city in each province, forming several disperse regional systems separated by the provincial boundaries. In terms of air passenger flow, the regional systems are integrated by vertical linkages between them. (4) Although the community structure is not obvious from the perspective of air passenger flow, there are seven communities of significant geographical characteristics being detected in the railway network. The main differences between two networks are attributed to the management systems and technical characteristics of the modes of transportation.

Key words: city network, traffic flow, spatial structure, community structure, territorial system, China