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 kilometers per 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. Currently, the metro/subway coverage in China had exceeded 30 cities in China, with length totaling around 5295 kilometers in 2018, including most major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Bus Rapid Transit was also introduced in recent years in order to tackle the problem of traffic congestions, 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 subsidization 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 almost 15 vehicles in 2017. Citywise, Guangdong currently had the longest total length of public transport network in China in 2017 at over 0.1 million kilometers, which was closely followed by Shandong with almost 0.096 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 0.051 million in 2017. Guangdong also ranked top nationwide for volume of public transport with 10.98 billion person times, which is significantly more than the second place holder Beijing at 7.13 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 4.4 percent compound annual growth rate by 2050, but public transportation was also forecasted to grow around 2.7 percent in terms of number of trips.

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Public urban transport in China

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