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Rapid urbanization and the declined of bike commuting
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Rapid urbanization and the declined of bike commuting

China has stepped into the era of high-speed urbanization. While it took England 120 years go from an urbanized area of 20% to 40%, China did in 22 years. China¨s urbanized area grew from 11.2% in 1950 to almost 50% today. In recent years, at least 12 million people migrated from rural areas to cities annually. With the downtown areas expanding and people moving further away from job centers, commuting is taking longer. The expansion of urbanized areas in Beijing is taking place at an extremely rapid rate, as shown by the satellite remote sensing images below. Meanwhile, due to higher income levels, cars have become popular, which has allowed for further expansion of urban areas and resulted in sprawling cities in China. The added travel distance has eliminated cycling as a travel choice, and thus, bicycle use is continuing to decline.

After having relocated from Ox Street in central Beijing to Yangqiao located within the South 3rd Ring Road, Wu Lijin---a man who has ridden a bike for over 20 years, bought a car with half of his resettlement money because his legs are not strong enough to complete the necessary 40-minute cycling commute every day. He still has two bicycles, but they¨re no longer used.

In China, the cyclist population is declining at a rate of 2%-5% annually. Even short trips, less than 5 kilometers, which are suitable for bicycles have been replaced by cars. On the other hand, short-distance travel by cars in Beijing is as high as 40% of all such trips.

            Urban Area Changes from 1975 to 2002 in Beijing
Figure1 was created by members of our team with data from CUSTReC [add link to CUSTRec].
Image on Analysis of Urban Expansion in Beijing using Satellite Remote Sensing images was provided by Tsinghua University, 2010,3



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