Autos, transit and bicycles: Comparing the costs in large Chinese cities


Rui Wang

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - pricing, economics - value of time, mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - rail, place - asia, ridership - commuting, ridership - drivers


Chinese urban transport, Full-cost comparison, Commuting corridors, Automobile, Transit, Bicycle


This study compares the full costs of seven passenger modes in the large Chinese cities facing the difficult yet crucial choice among alternative passenger transportation systems. The seven modes are evaluated at varied traffic volumes in hypothetical radial and circumferential commuting corridors. Using detailed estimates of private and social costs, the full cost of each mode is minimized by optimizing infrastructure investment and operation plans. On all corridors and across different scenarios, commuting by one or more forms of bus transit or bicycle costs less than automobile or rail. Nonetheless, in circumferential corridors, rail can be almost as cost-effective as bus under certain conditions, and bicycle can be less cost-effective than bus in some cases. Unlike results from similar studies conducted in the US, automobile commuting does not cost less than bus transportation at low traffic volumes.


Permission to publish abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X