, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 709–729 | Cite as

Mass transit systems of Beijing: governance evolution and analysis

  • Meng Xu
  • Avishai CederEmail author
  • Ziyou Gao
  • Wei Guan


Developing a more efficient mass transit system, in highly populated cities, improves the mobility, decreases the dependency of private cars, alleviates traffic congestion, and provides a more environmentally friendly means of travel. Recently, the city of Beijing decided to have a target of becoming as a ‘public-transport city’ with a fascinating mass transit system within a larger plan, of building humanistic, scientific and technological, and green public-transport systems. This work discusses the governance evolution of the mass transit system of Beijing between 1949–2008, comprised of two groups of transit systems, the road surface public-transport system (bus, tram, trolley, etc.), and the subway public-transport system. In addition, a time-series analysis is introduced in an attempt to examine the effect of governance evolution on the two transit systems, and of the impacts of the governance structural changes on the mass transit system. The time-series model is introduced using the annual statistics data of the period 1949–2008. The outcome of the analysis is viewed with precaution because of the incompleteness of the many endogenous and exogenous factors to affect the public-transport demand. Generally speaking it is concluded that the governance evolution provides beneficial effect of the Beijing mass transit activity; however, for satisfying the significant increase of the Beijing city’s travel demand and maintaining sustainable development, the governance-involvement pattern needs to be reformed.


Public transport Subway Time-series analysis Beijing 



We would like to express our gratitude to the guest editors and the three anonymous referees, whose comments have contributed to improve both the clarity and content of this paper. The study is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Project No. 2006CB705503), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 70771005, 70631001), and the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (2009JBM044).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MOE Key Laboratory for Urban Transportation Complex Systems Theory and TechnologyBeijing Jiaotong University BeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.School of Traffic and TransportationBeijing Jiaotong University BeijingChina

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