Does China's high-speed rail development lead to regional disparities? A network perspective

Shuli Liu, Yulai Wan, Anming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines whether cities are getting more equally accessible and connected via high-speed rail (HSR) in China over the period from 2010 to 2015. Existing studies mainly use network centralities to describe the spatial pattern of HSR network without measuring the spatial disparity of these centralities, and most of them rely on the infrastructure network and thus fail to incorporate HSR service quality in the centrality measures. Using HSR timetable data, we incorporate both scheduled travel time and daily frequency of each origin-destination city pair into three centrality measures and further quantify their inequalities using Theil's T index. We find that as the HSR network expands, cities appear to be more equal in terms of accessibility, but their disparities in connectivity and transitivity depend on the dimensions of comparison. In general, although the difference between economic regions or between megalopolises has reduced, small/medium-sized cities not belonging to any major city cluster are further lagged behind in HSR development. The difference between core and non-core cities in the same megalopolises has decreased despite that non-core cities are increasingly relying on core cities to access other regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-321
Number of pages23
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • China
  • High-speed rail
  • Network centralities
  • Regional disparity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Does China's high-speed rail development lead to regional disparities? A network perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this