Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China
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Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China

Edited by Chia-Lin Chen, Haixiao Pan, Qing Shen and James J. Wang

Since 1978, when China embarked on a new period of economic reforms and introduced open door policies, it has experienced a great urban transformation. The role of transport has proved indispensable in this unprecedented rapid urbanisation and economic growth. As the first research-focused book dedicated to this important topic, the Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China offers new insight into the various opportunities and challenges brought by fast-paced motorization and urban development, and explores them in broad spatial-economic, environmental, social, and institutional dimensions.
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Chapter 14: Are Beijing and Shanghai automobile dependent cities?

Yuan Gao and Peter Newman


Automobile dependence was a deliberate policy of many developed cities in the modernist period since the 1940s. As cities are now overcoming automobile dependence the attention has turned to the emerging world, especially China. The chapter shows that the two most influential Chinese cities, Beijing and Shanghai, have reached ‘peak car’ and have low automobile dependence. The chapter suggests that although China is in a period of rapid urbanization and motorization, these two cities are not automobile dependent and are unlikely to succumb to automobile dependence. This phenomenon can be explained by economic, cultural and administrative factors, especially Chinese traditional dense urbanism, which involves mostly walking and transit urban fabrics.

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