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Urban public transportation in China - statistics & facts

For decades, driving has been the major way of reaching places in vast majority parts of the world, leading to a constantly increasing number of cars in the whole world, and China is no exception. As of 2018, car parc in China has quadrupled since 2007, which put a huge burden on the road network country-wide. People take on average around 50 minutes to travel to work in both Beijing and Shanghai. During rush hour, in Beijing for example, the average driving speed can get as low as 26.48 kilometersper hour.

Surprisingly, walking is currently the most popular way to conduct trips in urban China, followed by private cars, and then comes public transportation. Public transportation is heavily subsidized in China, where buses were the main focus in the beginning. With the economic advancement, metros are also beginning to be introduced to more and more cities. Nowadays, the metro/subway coverage in China had exceeded 30 cities in China, with length totaling over six thousand kilometers in 2019, including most major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Bus Rapid Transit was also introduced in recent years in order to help boost attractiveness of public transportation, where such buses could enjoy a free lane on the highway avoiding the traffic and hence the delays. Most of the time, passengers do not even have to pay more than one U.S. dollar for each trip on public transportation in urban China, after the subsidies of the government. Around 12 percent of Chinese citizens traveled in China on city bus daily in 2019.

Countrywide, the concentration of public transport vehicles was steadily growing since last decade, from 3.6 vehicles per 10,000 people in 2000 to around 13 vehicles in 2018. Citywise, Guangdong currently had the longest total length of public transport network in China in 2018 at over 0.11 million kilometers, which was closely followed by Shandong with almost 0.1 million kilometers. For the same reason, these two provinces have the most number of public transport vehicles under operation, with Guangdong at 0.069 million and Shandong at 0.05 million. Guangdong also ranked top nationwide for volume of public transport with around eleven billion person times, which is significantly more than the second place holder Beijing at seven billion person times. As for the future of the mobility scene in China, it was expected that the shared mobility will continue gaining in popularity with around four percent compound annual growth rate by 2050, but public transportation was also forecasted to grow around three percent in terms of number of trips.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 23 most important statistics relating to "Urban public transportation in China".


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