Has Transportation Demand of Shanghai, China, Passed Its Peak Growth?

TitleHas Transportation Demand of Shanghai, China, Passed Its Peak Growth?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZhan Zhao, Jinhua Zhao, Qing Shen
JournalJournal of the Transportation Research Board

On the basis of four comprehensive transportation surveys in Shanghai, China, this study examined the latest trends in Shanghai's travel demand; investigated their social, economic, and spatial drivers; and compared the pace of travel demand growth in three periods: 1980s to early 1990s, early 1990s to mid-2000s, and mid-2000s to the present. The demand growth was relatively slow in the first period and then sped up in the second before it returned to a slower pace in the third period. As for trip purpose, Shanghai's travel is much more diversified than previously, with an increasing share of noncommuting trips (from 28% in 1995 to 46% in 2009). Spatially, travel demand is dispersed from the central district to peripheral districts because of urban expansion and decentralization and from Puxi (west of the Huangpu River) to Pudong (east of the Huangpu River) as a result of significant economic development of the Pudong New Area. Both spatial diffusion and purpose diversification favor the convenience and flexibility of private motor vehicles. Driven by rapid motorization, vehicle travel is growing at a much faster pace than person travel. Overall, the annual growth rate for travel demand in Shanghai reached its peak in 2004 for both person trips and vehicle trips. In absolute numbers, person trip growth has peaked, but vehicle trip growth has not. In response to the growing demand, especially rapid motorization, the local government has made tremendous investments in road infrastructure and public transit, and it has attempted to manage demand through vehicle ownership control.