Urban transport carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by commuters in rapidly developing Cities: The comparative study of Beijing and Xi’an in China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, technology - emissions, mode - subway/metro, mode - bus, mode - bike, land use - impacts, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting


Urban sprawl, Travel pattern, Transport CO2 emission by commuters, Beijing, Xi’an, China


To understand the changing relationships between commuting CO2 emissions (CCE), travel behavior and urban forms, this paper provides a comparative study between the typical Chinese cities of Beijing (more developed) and Xi’an (rapidly developing). Further, the effects of metro services on reducing CCE were explored, and comparative analysis on CCE between the inner sprawling suburbs and outer suburbs was conducted. It was found that: (i) the increases in CCE are several times larger than the increases in urban size, population, and economic developments; (ii) metro services reducing CCE near metro stations is not statistically significant, maybe because the proportions of car users near the metro stations are similar to the two cities’ average levels, which is caused by their higher household income and the longer travel time using the metro; (iii) in Beijing, there are smallest CCE in the outer suburbs due to job-housing balances, short distance and large percentage of non-motorized mode uses while largest CCE in the inner sprawl suburbs due to car trips with long distance. These findings indicate that to cope with the rapidly increasing CCE, more attention should be paid to developing strong industry and real-estate simultaneously; the improvement in the feeder bus and public bicycle systems should also be reinforced to reduce the total travel time of metro users; and satellite cities with job-housing balance are greatly needed. The implications will benefit efforts to reduce CCE and mitigate global climate change, and they also provide empirical evidence and reference values for other global cities.


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


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