Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (8): 1937-1952.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202208007

• Economic Geography and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evolution of China's overland transportation dominance and its economic effect: A county-level analysis

CHEN Shuting1(), LI Yurui2,3(), PAN Wei2,3, WANG Wulin4, JIN Fengjun2,3   

  1. 1. College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. College of Tourism, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
  • Received:2021-04-25 Revised:2022-04-05 Online:2022-08-25 Published:2022-10-25
  • Contact: LI Yurui;
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23070300);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41931293);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971220);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41701118);"Star of Innovation" Project for Outstanding Graduate Students(2021CXZX-100)


Overland transportation is the fundamental support of regional economic and social development. Based on the national data about overland transportation in 2009, 2014, and 2018, we develop an evaluation model of transportation dominance involving three dimensions, namely, scale, proximity, and accessibility. These dimensions are interpreted by road density, population-weighted average transportation proximity, and location advantage, respectively. We further reveal the spatial pattern and evolution of overland transportation dominance and then estimate its economic effect. The results show that: (1) Significant progress has been made in China's overland transportation from 2009 to 2018. Overland transportation dominance expands from urban intensive areas to inter-regional channels, which is closely related to the urbanization strategy called a "two horizontal and three vertical" pattern. The inferiority of overland transportation is mainly found in the western, northeastern, and provincial border areas. These areas are the key to balanced transportation development to make up for the current shortcomings. (2) The spatial patterns of the overland transportation dominance are different in different regions and development stages, which can be abstracted as the evolution of "pole-and-core, point-and-axis, and hub-and-spokes". Future transportation development should strengthen the connection between important regions, the main transportation axes, and the key transportation corridors. (3) The overall economic effect of overland transportation dominance is significantly positive, and its indirect effect is about 1.5 times as large as the direct effect. However, transportation does not always promote county economic growth, whose sub-dimensional economic effect varies in different regions and periods.

Key words: overland transportation dominance, pattern evolution, economic effect, China