Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2010, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (10): 1275-1286.doi: 10.11821/xb201010012

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Identification of Inter-urban Container Transport Hubs and Their Spatial Characteristics: A Case Study of Railway Transportation in China

WANG Chengjin   

  1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling,Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2010-01-07 Revised:2010-06-13 Online:2010-10-20 Published:2010-10-20
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40701045, No.40635026; Postdoctoral Foundation of China, No.200902133, Knowledge Innovation Projects of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCXZ-YW-Q10-4-1; Project of National Science and Technology Infrastructure Program, No.2008BAH31B05


Container traffic flows reflect the economic linkages inter-cities. Hubs play an important role in regional economic network, which reversely dominates the development of logistics. Based on the graph theory, this paper designed a model, which considered both the direct and indirect economic linkages inter-cities, to identify the hubs. As a result, 21 container hubs were found in China, and most of them are seaport cities. Moreover, the container traffic flow system around the hub shows an obvious region-gateway spatial structure. Then, this paper analyzed the distance decay rule of main container hubs such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing using Pareto and Newling model respectively, and defined main decay parameters of the models. The decay coefficient b in Pareto model shows that if its value is higher, the container hub will be more limited in a short distance. The increment coefficient b1 in Newling model is positive, which demonstrates that there is a low value area near the hub. Therefore, the area which is influenced most by the container hub is really not close to it. Meanwhile, this paper explored the spatial agglomeration and diffusion rules of container transport based on the O-D flow matrix. Hubs' radiation and attraction capability shows obvious spatial imbalance. Adjacent areas have lower values, and the main influenced areas are found in a certain distance away from the hubs. Although the largest radiation value and attraction value of each hub is different from the others, their agglomeration and diffusion corridors are almost in accordance with each other.

Key words: inter-urban container traffic flow, graph theory, hub city, distance decay rule, agglomeration and diffusion characteristics