Impacts of High Speed Rail on Railroad Network Accessibility in China

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High speed rail, Accessibility, China railroad network

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High speed rail (HSR) is changing the overall travel accessibility of cities in China. There have been a number of studies of high speed rail in China. However, detailed spatiotemporal accessibility pattern of cities affected by the operation of high speed rail in China has not been reported. This study takes a timetable-based accessibility evaluation approach to analyze the changes in travel time, travel cost, and distance accessibility for each of the four main stages of HSR development in China: no HSR service in Stage 1 before August 2008, several HSR lines in Stage 2 between August 2008 and July 2011, reduced operating speed of HSR trains in Stage 3 between August 2011 and November 2012, and addition of new HSR lines and reduction of ticket fares in Stage 4 between December 2012 and January 2013. In addition to the “corridor effect” and the “center-diffusion” pattern, this paper investigates the impacts of HSR on changes in in-vehicle travel time and out-of-vehicle travel time with respect to the policy changes that reduced the operating speed of HSR trains, rearranged the train timetable, and lowered the ticket fare on HSR trains. The analysis results indicate the spatiotemporal pattern of Chinese cities affected by these policy changes. This study is useful for assessing HSR impacts on the accessibility of various cities across China as well as serving as a decision-making support to policies related to adjustments of HSR operation and planning of future HSR routes by considering the existing HSR and non-HSR railway lines.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Transport Geography, v. 40, p. 112-122