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Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 776; doi:10.3390/su8080776

Comparison of Socioeconomic Factors between Surrounding and Non-Surrounding Areas of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway before and after Its Construction

1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4
College of Life and Geographical Science, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 21 April 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 4 August 2016 / Published: 11 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

As the world’s highest railway, and the longest highland railway, the Qinghai–Tibet Railway (QTR) has been paid considerable attention by researchers. However, most attention has been paid to the ecological and environmental issues affecting it, and sustainable ecological, social, and economic development-related studies of the QTR are rare. In this study, by analyzing the passenger traffic, freight traffic, passenger-kilometers, and freight-kilometers of the QTR for the period 1982–2013 and the transport structure of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) for 1990–2013, the evolutionary process of the transport system in the TP following the construction of the QTR has been revealed. Subsequently, by comparing Gross Domestic Product (GDP), population, industrial structure, and urbanization level at the county and 1 km scales between surrounding and non-surrounding areas of the QTR, the differences in socioeconomic performance before and after its construction were detected. The results show that (1) in the TP, the highway-dominated transport system will break up and an integrated and sustainable transport system will form; (2) at the county scale, the annual growth rates of GDP of counties surrounding the QTR were greater than those of non-surrounding counties for the period 2000–2010. At the 1 km scale, following the opening of the completed line, the GDP of surrounding areas had a greater growth rate than before; (3) analysis at the county and 1 km scales indicated that population was not aggregated into the surrounding areas of the QTR in the period 2000–2010; (4) in terms of industrial structure, the proportion of primary industry decreased continuously, while the proportion of secondary and tertiary industries increased overall in the period 1984–2012. The QTR had no obvious impact on changes in the urbanization level of its surrounding areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: Qinghai–Tibet Railway; comparison study; transport system; GDP; population; industrial structure; urbanization level Qinghai–Tibet Railway; comparison study; transport system; GDP; population; industrial structure; urbanization level
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, S.; Wang, Z.; Zhang, Y.; Wang, Y.; Liu, F. Comparison of Socioeconomic Factors between Surrounding and Non-Surrounding Areas of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway before and after Its Construction. Sustainability 2016, 8, 776.

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