, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 115–132 | Cite as

Developing Metro Systems in the People’s Republic of China: Policy and Gaps



Rapid urbanization has taken place in China since the Open Policy in 1978. In face of the growing demand for mobility in large cities, new metro systems were developed in large cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. At present, there are seven cities with 10 metro lines under construction. What are the policy issues and major challenges of developing metro systems in China? This paper systematically reviews the current situation and highlights three major gaps that Chinese cities have to overcome in planning metro systems. They are the technology gap, the financing gap and the affordability gap. A discussion of these gaps in the Chinese context leads us to the conclusion that early planning and careful studies are important in the development of metro systems in China. Moreover, the existing official criteria (population and economic power) for approving the building of metro systems are insufficient and should be supplemented by more vigorous evaluation criteria.


affordability gap financing gap localization non-fare revenue technology gap technology transfer 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.Metro Solutions LimitedHong Kong

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