Thursday, September 4, 2008

China Numbers Update

This isn't minor planning:
According to statistics, China plans to build 65 urban rail lines with a total length of 1,700 km through pouring a huge sum of CNY600 billion into UMT construction through 2015, In light with its near term UMT development layout. In the past several years, the three Chinese metropolises of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all have advanced in a rate of building 30 to 50 km annually.
50km (31 miles) annually?? Per city?? Imagine if we built 50km of subways annually here. Obviously they have some issues with environment and antiquities but this type of investment and movement is surely amazing to the United States which takes ten years to build a line.


Alon Levy said...

Beijing and Shanghai's development parallels this of New York in the 1920s, complete with ambitious system expansions. Like the IND, the latest round of Beijing subway expansion is behind schedule; Line 4 was supposed to be in operation by the Olympics, but is now scheduled to open next year because of a fatal accident during construction.

The current pace is quicker than that of New York in the Dual Contracts era, but that's just because China has more to catch up with. It's for the same reason that some third-world countries are now growing at 10% a year, where Europe and the US never managed more than 2-3% during the Industrial Revolution.

Even if Beijing and Shanghai do eventually overtake New York and London in system lengths, it won't be any different in concept from how New York overtook London in single-track length. Newer cities have an inherent growth advantage.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

When you say new city, do you mean emerging economic? I'm not sure that Beijing is necessarily new. I would think that cities without strict environmental and property rights statutes would make it a bit easier as well.

Alon Levy said...

Yes, I mean economic. Shanghai's been around for 500 years and Beijing's even older, but they've only been industrialized for about 15.

The environmental and property rights issues aren't so important. India, which is far more serious about environmental issues, labor rights, and private property, is planning subway construction almost as quick. Delhi plans to have a subway system longer than London's by 2020.