China, located at the east of Asia, occupies a total land area of 9.6 million square kilometers, third only in size to Russia and Canada. China is a high populated country in the world and its population reached 1.3 billion in early 2005. The density is 140.1 persons per sq km. The current age structure is relatively balanced, as 70.3% of the total population is between the age of 15 and 64 (male 469,328,664; female 443,248,860), 22.3% of that is between the age of 0 and 14, and people with 65 years old and above only occupies 7.5%.

To save its stagnant economy, China government dedicated so much effort to reform its economic system and political framework in last several decades. In the late 1970s, the Chinese government began transferring its Soviet-style central plan economy to a market oriented economic system. For an instance, the Government advocated restructuring the old economic system and privatizing public capital. The reform successfully slimmed down the unwieldy public-owned corporations. The Chinese leadership also realized the importance of commerce and technology development. Therefore, the China government intensifies its effort to develop the infrastructures all over the country, in particular the coastal cities and provinces. To stimulate its economic growth, China government actively develops its global and local economic partnerships, and signs enormous unilateral and bilateral agreements. Nowadays, China’s international position is acknowledged by many countries. Based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) measurement, China was ranked as the second largest economy developer behind the U.S. in 2003. According to 2004 CIA World Factbook, it indicates that, in 2003, China’s GDP was $6.449 trillion and the real growth rate of GDP was 9.1%. Even though the GDP was high, the GDP per capita was still low, which was $5,000. About 10% (2001) of population live below poverty line. If the GDP is composited by sectors, about 51.7% of GDP was from industry and construction, 14.5% from agriculture and 33.8% from services (2002).


total: 70,058 km
standard gauge: 68,000 km 1.435-m gauge (18,668 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 3,600 km 1.000-m and 0.750-m gauge local industrial lines
dual gauge: 22,640 km (not included in total) (2003)


total: 1,402,698 km
paved: 314,204 km (with at least 16,314 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,088,494 km (2000)

In many cities, railways and expressways are two main transport arteries. Guangdong Province is the one with remarkable achievement on its transport development. Guang Zhou is the capital city of Guangdong Province. The regional transport network is like a spider net starting from Guang Zhou to other neighbour cities, like Shen Zhen, Zhu Hai, Yun Fu, Qing Yuan, Fo Shan, Kai Ping, Shan Tou, etc.

National Highway Routes

Route 105, 106 and 107: connecting areas in the north and northeast with Guang Zhou while Routes 105 and 107 are extended to link up with Zhu Hai (珠海) and Shen Zhen in the south respectively.
Route 321 and 324: an east-west corridor connecting Shan Tou (汕頭) in the east and Yun Fu (云浮) in the west.
Route 205 and 325: serving the north-east and south-west regions respectively.

In many cities, railways and expressways are two main transport arteries. Guangdong Province is the one with remarkable achievement on its transport development. Guang Zhou is the capital city of Guangdong Province. The regional transport network is like a spider net starting from Guang Zhou to other neighbour cities, like Shen Zhen, Zhu Hai, Yun Fu, Qing Yuan, Fo Shan, Kai Ping, Shan Tou, etc.

Regional Highway Routes

Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway (廣深高速公路), Guangzhou-Zhuhai East Line (廣珠東綫高速公路) - part of the Beijing-Zhuhai line (京珠綫), Guangzhou-Foshan Expressway (廣佛高速公路), Guangzhou-Qingyuan Expressway (廣清高速公路) serving the Guangdong Province. Other expressways include Shenzhen-Shantou Expressway (深汕高速公路) - Tongsan (Eastern Section) line (同三東綫), Western Coastal Expressway (西部沿海高速公路), Foshan-Kaiping Expressway (佛开高速公路), etc.

The existing railway network include

Beijing-Guangzhou line (京廣鐵路), Guangzhou-Kowloon line (廣九鐵路), Guangzhou-Meizhou-Shantou line (廣梅汕鐵路), Beijing-Kowloon line (京九鐵路) and Sanshui-Maoming line (三茂鐵路).
Table Regional and Provincial Transport Fixed Capital Investments (November 2004)

Region Total Road Construction Ferry Construction Coastal Construction Other Construction
Total 46,143,562 41,757,536 567,703 2,472,476 1,345,847
Eastern 东部地区 21,373,530 17,644,939 227,545 2,472,476 1,028,570
Central中部地区 5,019,621 4,667,652 190,617 - 61,352
Western西部地区 9,750,411 9,444,945 149,541 - 55,925
Bei Jing 北京 71,479 371,479 - - -
Tian Jing 天津 382,802 195,553 - 187,249 -
Hei Bei 河北 1,825,206 1,619,091 - 195,358 10,757
Shan Xi 山西 1,613,807 1,613,807 - - -
Nei Meng Gu 内蒙古 2,018,654 2,016,988 1,666 - -
Liao Ning 辽宁 1,217,060 765,516 - 430,490 21,054
Ji Lin 吉林 1,183,294 1,181,894 1,400 - -
Hei Long Jiang 黑龙江 893,050 866,400 26,650 - -
Shang Hai 上海 2,416,118 903,381 9,376 671,079 832,282
Jiang Su 江苏 3,984,528 3,795,625 130,134 58,769 -
Zhe Jian 浙江 3,709,992 3,359,842 58,344 189,295 102,511
An Hui 安徽 1,575,045 1,536,834 21,896 - 16,315
Fu Jian 福建 1,400,600 1,303,652 - 93,272 3,676
Jiang Xi 江西 1,441,054 1,423,592 17,342 - 120
Shang Dong 山东 1,955,530 1,806,922 3,000 142,640 2,968
He Nian河南 3,095,702 3,093,099 2,603 - -
Hu Bei 湖北 1,896,914 1,699,043 53,161 - 144,710
Hu Nan 湖南 1,302,101 1,235,995 65,899 - 207
Guang Dong 广东 2,999,531 2,558,925 15,759 420,083 4,764
Guang Xi 广西 1,016,983 886,558 10,932 72,654 46,839
Hai Nan 海南 93,701 78,395 - 11,587 3,719
Chong Qing 重庆 1,182,984 1,111,948 40,582 - 30,454
Si Chuan 四川 1,698,150 1,489,922 95,869 - 112,359
Gui Zhou 贵州 913,742 908,212 5,100 - 430
Yun Nian 云南 1,458,392 1,454,347 3,849 - 196
Xi Zang 西藏 326,529 323,192 - - 3,337
Shan Xi 陕西 1,538,160 1,532,722 968 - 4,470
Gan Su 甘肃 901,478 894,066 3,173 - 4,239
Qing Hai 青海 393,623 393,183 - - 440
Ning Xia 宁夏 331,082 331,082 - - -
Xin Jiang 新疆 1,006,271 1,006,271 - - -

(Source: 2004年11月交通固定资产投资完成情况, 中国交通网站 2005-02-23


  1. IntReference: ernational Data Base, U.S. Bureau of the Census,

  2. 2004 CIA World Factbook,

  3. 2004 CIA World Factbook,

  4. Regional and Hong Kong's Transport Network Planning Framework, per21.htm



Four decades after Jean Gottmann described the US Northeast Corridor as a Megalopolis, the Magplane Commuting Service can consolidate this vast urban region into an interdependent and integrated urban system, allowing workers to live in one metropolitan region while working in another.

The map shows the proposed alignment and the link above, the estimated trip times for travel between the five major metropolitan regions of this corridor: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore-Washington, and Richmond.

Short travel times and affordable, convenient, and reliable service can emulate the service characteristics of commuter rail in the days prior to freeways.

The expansion of the knowledge based labor pool for Boston's Route 128, for example, to include workers resident in New York City, and Providence, Rhode Island will enhance labor productivity substantially. And Boston's knowledge intensive industries will become more globally competitive, attracting more investment and knowledge workers into the Northeast corridor. As knowledge labor becomes more specialized, the interdependence of the metropolitan regions in this corridor will grow, ushering in the Interactive Megalopolis.

With the arrival of the "Virtual Workplace," daily commutes may not become necessary for many of these workers. However the ability to transport a worker 400 km with the utmost reliability, speed, convenience, and economy to meet with clients and coworkers, will influence the ability of companies to recruit and locate workers in adjacent metropolitan regions, or points in between. Magplane can accelerate the development of a "Virtual Workplace" for the American labor force.


A flexible Magplane Service in Southern California would follow the rights of way of the principal interstates to provide a high degree of mobility for commuters. Most trip times within the Interactive Megalopolis would be less than 30 minutes, even for commuters between Los Angeles and San Diego. These commuting times will match the travel times of subway systems in metropolitan areas but differ in one key respect: speed and range beyond the commuting distance for the automobile.

Intermodal service would be provided to airports, automobile parking facilities, the subways in Los Angeles and other convenient transfer points. This illustrative routing below demonstrates the ability of the Magplane system to serve multiple destinations using off-line stations.

Extensions to other important Southern California points, including Santa Barbara, Lancaster/Palmdale, Palm Springs, and even Tijuana, at the Mexican border are also possible with the Magplane system.


Airport connections represent an important intermodal connection opportunity for The Magplane. While the capacity of the existing Southern California Region Commercial Airport System is approximately 100 million annual passengers, it is projected that this system will experience a passenger capacity shortfall of one-third by 2020. To meet this rising demand, airport facilities will have to be expanded. In Southern California, where fierce local public opposition is preventing the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport and the relocation of flights to adjacent airports such as John Wayne International or El Toro, The Magplane system enables airport planners to convert distant military bases to civilian use.

Magplane can link the following airports into a single airport network allowing passengers to interconnect to other airports without clearing security, if necessary. In this fashion, The Magplane would become an extension of the taxiways. At 400 km, Los Angeles International Airport connecting passengers would be able to connect to adjoining airports within a half hour or less, roughly the time it takes for the 15th aircraft waiting in line for a congested runway to take off. The strategic location of underutilized March Air Force Base and Palmdale Airport to congested Los Angeles International Airport, San Diego Lindbergh Field, and John Wayne International make available alternative airport options that would be environmentally, economically, and politically, more sustainable. Similar airport capacity problems are occurring across the country.


The maps above depict a Case Study of Proposed Magplane Intermodal Interchanges for Boston and Greater Washington D.C.

The ease of locating off-line stations at strategic passenger distribution systems, be it airports, freeways, subway lines, and even large regional shopping centers, enables the Magplane to distribute boardings and alightings over a wide geographic area and to minimize magport access and egress times.

This flexibility is an important operational feature of the Magplane since most commuters no longer travel from the suburbs to the downtown area. Over half of the nation's commuters reside in the suburbs and 44% of all commuters begin and end their trip in a suburb. The traditional suburb to downtown commute, now represents only 20% of the commuting market.

Like a subway system, the Magplane commuting service would offer passengers many choices of station stops. But because the Magplane service operates with single vehicles rather than coupled rail or subway cars, commuters can bypass these off-line stations until reaching their ultimate destination. Transfer stations would provide passengers with high frequency service from low density markets.

Magplane Technology allows for a very flexible means to locate stations whether during the initial construction, or after a system has been built. The technology enables urban regions to access the Magplane system in response to rising travel demand or to rapidly changing land development patterns.


Commuters worldwide resist traveling over an hour to work or to a business meeting. No existing conventional transportation system technology can significantly reduce the commuting time for people working and interacting in megalopolitan clusters, whether in the US Northeast Corridor, Southern California, or even Paris-London.

The commuting range of the automobile is limited to about 30 to 100 km, depending on traffic conditions. Air transport, even popular and cost effective regional commuters, is still costly and vulnerable to airport delays and ground access problems. High Speed Rail suffers from high operating costs, is prone to station access limitations, and is capacity constrained. Therefore none of these transportation modes are able to transform a Boston - New York intercity trip into an equivalent intracity commuting trip as defined by cost (less than a cab ride), time (door to door in less than 60 minutes), capacity (subway), and a high degree of convenience.

An alternative transportation system is required in the New Economy, one that is faster and longer reaching than a car, subway or other public transit, and more convenient, affordable, reliable, and accessible than an airplane. In short, a new transportation system is needed for the new emerging transportation market of the 21st Century.

The Magplane Solutions:

The Magplane system is best able to provide intercity commuting ranges at intracity commuting times, fares, capacity levels and convenience. Magplane offers off-line stations, elevated lightweight guideways, superior speed, capacity, safety, reliability and maintainability, in an environmentally sustainable manner. Magplane elevated guideways and off-line stations can more readily be superimposed onto existing urban and regional communities than any other high speed transport means.

The Magplane system has been conceived to meet the transportation needs of the new information age. A Magplane system, operating at speeds of 400 km/h and with a station access and egress time of 45 minutes, could cover about 320 km in one and a half hours. Therefore, the prime market for Magplane service is one that current transportation systems cannot serve: commuting distances greater than 60 to 120 km depending on traffic conditions, but less than 320 km. In this process, the benefits for our metropolitan populations and our existing transportation systems can be enormous.

Future Market


The Information Age is the result of the convergence of computer and digital communications that permit instant worldwide transmission of voice, text, data and images. Telecommunication technologies are liberating the locations of work and residence, driving the need for new transportation concepts that blur the traditional meaning of intercity trips (travel between cities) and intracity trips (travel within cities) to consolidate these locations within economical travel of times, costs, and high reliability.

"The death of distance as a determinant of the cost of communicating will probably be the single most important force shaping society in the first half of the next century.

"The result may not necessarily be less traveling - indeed when people need to meet their electronic contacts they may actually travel further than before - but traveling will be of a different kind."

"Death of Distance", Frances Cairncross of "The Economist"

The Interactive Megalopolis

From 1980 to 1990, the fastest percentage growing transportation market in the United States, by a two to one margin, was commuters who travel between metropolitan regions versus commuters who travel within the metropolis. This is the result of significant changes occurring in the workplace and at home: increasing labor specialization; decreasing labor tenure; and the prevalence of two-income households. To achieve significant productivity gains in the New Age Economy, the urban commuting region needs to expand beyond the metropolitan confines of the previous age.

Just as the worker in the 1950 to 1980 period commuted from outlying suburbs by commuter rail or the automobile, the New Economy will see the development of the Interactive Megalopolis. This new urban form will cluster metropolitan regions linked by advanced telecommunications and transportation systems. Increased labor accessibility between metropolitan regions will result in better job matches without the need for residential relocation.

In the New Economy, it is "Knowledge Capital," a portable asset that will attract international investment and not "Asset Capital" composed of buildings and worker tools. Urban regions that can increase accessibility to "Knowledge Capital" while managing the environmental, social and economic costs of increased travel will prosper in the Information Age.


The Interactive Megalopolis is a necessary response to the escalating conflict between rising employer requirements for knowledge workers and quality of life concerns for urban residents. Quality of life concerns are not arbitrary subjective values describing aesthetic urban environments, but relate to and measure the cost of urban life of which the most basic needs are access to employment and housing.

When Hans Blumenfeld (1895-1987) stated the obvious that A City is Primarily a Place to Work and a Place to Live some fifty odd years ago, the maturing urban form was the metropolis brought about by changing industrial, commercial and residential location behavior made possible by the freeway. The expansive nature of the metropolis enabled residents to enjoy an unprecedented access to jobs and affordable housing.

In the ensuing years, urban planners have come to understand the limitations of an expanding road network as the environmental consequences of the automobile became evident. Today, most planners advocate "Smart Growth" communities as the proper environmentally sustainable response to urban growth. In an ideal world, it would make perfect sense to live in communities where you could walk or cycle to work. However, because hardly anyone stays with the same employer for 25 years at a fixed location and because spouses also work, it appears that the Smart Growth strategy is less capable in building compact urban communities than it was in the 1950's when employees did stay with a single employer for an extended period while their wives stayed at home.

Magplane Technology Inc. believes the popular adjective "Sustainable" describes not only environmental objectives but also economic objectives as well. The urban form ought to be able to adapt to both changing economic conditions and to environmental constraints. Federal, state and local agencies have embraced these two notions in many of their urban planning and transportation plans.

However, another objective is equally important. The urban form has undergone several important transformations but at every stage, Americans as a society enjoyed greater prosperity. The emergence of a growing middle class continued throughout the century as home ownership became more accessible. Housing quality increased with each successive generation, whether the tenure status was owner or tenant occupied. This social achievement was the most enduring urban quality in Urban America.

Magplane Technology Inc. strives to develop and deploy a transportation system that will enable the urban form to continue its evolution in a manner that is environmentally economically and socially sustainable.

Periodically we will post a feature story to discuss an important theme of urban development, drawn from media coverage that highlights any of these three elements.

More Recent Stories