Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (10): 1941-1961.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201910001

• Evolution of Economic Geography Patterns •     Next Articles

Evolution of transportation in China since reform and opening-up: Patterns and principles

JIN Fengjun1,2,CHEN Zhuo1,2,3   

  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
    3. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2018-11-09 Revised:2019-08-22 Online:2019-10-25 Published:2019-10-29
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(No.XDA19040403);National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41771134)


Since the reform and opening-up in 1978, historic changes have been seen in the transportation geography pattern of China. Understanding its evolutionary characteristics and regularity is significant and meaningful for future transportation construction and territory development. This paper reviewed the process of transportation construction in China and investigated the evolutionary characteristics and spatial effects of transportation geography pattern with the technologies in big data mining and GIS. In addition, the regular rules of transportation geography evolution from the aspects of stages, structures, and orders are systematically analyzed. The investigation showed that China's transportation construction has entered the stage of quality improvement. The construction mode has upgraded from scale-expanding driven by investment to quality-improving driven by innovation. The development direction has changed from "prior development" to "integrated coordinated development". The rapid growth and development of transportation networks have significantly influenced the relationship between time and space. The resulting spatial convergence and superiority pattern are coupled with economic-social distribution, which facilitates the development of the economic-social spatial structure. Consequently, territory development that is traditionally centralized by corridors has changed into the networked mode centered on metropolises and metropolitan areas. In brief, the transportation geography pattern is of evolutionary principles. China has been evolving from the stage of ordered structure to the stage of cascade-order structure. Simultaneously, the economic-social pattern has changed from the axis structure to the hub-and-spoke structure with a preliminary ordered network. As transportation networks grow and expand, China's functional spatial structure and ordered network will be gradually stabilized and balanced.

Key words: transport geographic pattern, spatial effect, spatial cascade, evolutionary principle, China