Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 78 ›› Issue (4): 946-960.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202304011

• Transportation and Tourism Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial differentiation and effect on regional integration of inter-city connections in China

LI Tao1,2(), PENG Tianhao1, WANG Jiaoe2,3(), HUANG Jie2   

  1. 1. Northwest Land and Resource Research Center, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710119, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-02-28 Revised:2022-10-27 Online:2023-04-25 Published:2023-04-13
  • Contact: WANG Jiaoe;
  • Supported by:
    Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China(20&ZD099);National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars(42225106);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, SNNU(GK202103124)


There are differences between high-speed rail and conventional rail in technical and economic characteristics such as speed, ticket price and reasonable transport distance. Therefore, they can reflect spatial traffic links at different scales, which have important impact on the reshaping of territorial space. Using train timetable data, this paper analyzes the differential spatial cascading system order of high-speed rail and conventional rail service, and compares the regional integration effect of these two rail modes on the spatial cascading system. The results show that, compared with conventional rail, the spatial layout of high-speed rail is more consistent with the gradient pattern of national economic and social development. The distance decay effect of traffic flows by high-speed rail is more obvious, with an advantage over conventional rail for journeys within 600 km. The advantaged cities of high-speed rail and conventional rail are spatially concentrated to the south and north of the Yangtze River respectively. The conventional rail service presents a more balanced distribution considering the demand of passenger transport. Further analysis shows that, under the influence of technical and economic advantages, competition between high-speed rail and conventional rail, and the network spatial layout, the regional integration effect of high-speed rail on efficiency space shows a significant polarization, with the neighboring regional agglomeration as the main form, while conventional rail has formed cross-regional corridor agglomeration along the north-south direction and east-west direction at the macro level. The regional integration model of high-speed rail and conventional rail also presents the characteristics of multi-center grading and multi-plate equalization respectively.

Key words: rail, techno-economic characteristics, spatial cascading system, efficiency space, regional integration