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Impacts of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway on Accessibility and Economic Linkage of the Third Pole

Shicheng Li (), Jian Gong (), Qinghai Deng () and Tianyu Zhou ()
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Shicheng Li: Department of Land Resource Management, School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Jian Gong: Department of Land Resource Management, School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Qinghai Deng: Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization and Sedimentary Mineral, College of Earth Science and Engineering, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China
Tianyu Zhou: School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 11, 1-17

Abstract: Constructing the Qinghai–Tibet Railway (QTR) was a landmark project and was beneficial to the sustainable development of the Third Pole. To understand the sustainable development of remote regions by the provision of railway, we studied the QTR’s impact on accessibilities and economic linkages for four cities in the Third Pole, Xining, Golmud, Nagqu, and Lhasa, and between these four cities and 29 capital cities in mid-eastern China. First, employing average shortest travel time (ASTT) and weighted average travel time (WATT) as indicators, we calculated the railway-based accessibilities for June 2006 and January 2013. Then, using a gravity model, railway-based economic linkages were determined. The results demonstrate that: (i) ASTT for Xining–Golmud decreased by 4.14 h from June 2006 to January 2013. Both ASTT and WATT indicated that the accessibilities of the four cities and between these four cities and 29 capital cities in mid-eastern China improved significantly, and the spatial disparity in accessibility for the four cities decreased, which increased the balance and sustainability of the transportation system; (ii) the average contribution rate of the QTR to improving economic linkages for six routes among the four cities was 25.29%, with the Xining–Nagqu and Nagqu–Lhasa linkages improving most significantly; (iii) the QTR strengthened economic linkages between the four cities and mid-eastern cities. Because of the QTR, the economic linkages between the four cities and 29 capital cities increased 27.58% on average. The spatial disparity in interurban economic linkages also decreased. Transporting products from Tibet should be promoted to strengthen the sustainability of economic growth.

Keywords: Qinghai–Tibet Railway; accessibility; economic linkage; highland city; gravity model; spatial disparity; Tibetan Plateau (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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