Mass transit systems of Beijing: governance evolution and analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, mode - tram/light rail, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, policy - sustainable, planning - travel demand management, organisation - governance


public transport, subway, time-series analysis, Beijing


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.


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