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Old January 23rd, 2016, 04:16 AM   #3541
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Shanghai's subway network is already longer than any other systems in the world. Shanghai's subway has 617 km and 366 stations (source: http://www.shmetro.com/). And We are only talking about Bona Fide subway system, not suburban rails.

London has 400 km and 270 stations (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Underground)

Shanghai's subway is more developed, thank you. Most of the stations have platform screen doors, and they are even adding LED lights at the screen doors to alert people when the door opens.



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Old January 23rd, 2016, 05:11 AM   #3542
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I see what you mean. I get sick while driving on UK roads. But mind you UK is among the leading nations (perhaps the leader?) in the EU (=world) in terms of road safety. Roads are not quite as great as they are in FR, NL or DE but the level of efficiency at which the infrastructure is utilized in practice is quite impressive. Driving culture adds much to that too.

Amazingly the adequacy and 'development' of infrastructure is not just about the technical specs but very much about the culture and manner in which it is used. A typical 2x2 or 3x3 motorway in UK or Germany has far more practical capacity (possibly even by times) than identical road in China simply because drivers behave differently and have different level of driving skills).
In NZ, you can get your licence on your 15th Birthday. So you will see a lot of 16yo teenagers going on road trips during school holiday.

Though most Chinese drivers are bad-mannered drivers, I think most of them are actually quite skilled (those taxi drivers especially). They are able to manoeuvre around very confined spaces in very quick speed. As a driver of 8 years, I even get scared when Chinese taxi drivers speed past a very tight gap, thinking the car is going to crash. Also they can "tailgate" at a distance of 20cm in traffic jams to prevent another car from cutting in front them.

Lastly, there is no such thing as "lanes" in China. You just drive how the hell you feel like

During the off-peak hours, a two lane road is used as a one lane road. During the peak hours, a two lane road can be used as a 3-4 lane road.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 02:16 PM   #3543
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I love the Tube. Hard not to when you can hear anything from modern IGBT to old resistor traction control, or when you can see anything from polished concrete to Victorian mosaic, or old serif font 'Gillespie Road' written on tiles. In those respects Shanghai metro feels rather 'samey'. I'm looking forward to new trains on London Underground, but I will be sad when the last resistor-traction train goes.

Shanghai's network has become very extensive in a very short space of time, and is very slick and modern, which certainly provides a contrast to the small tunnel diameters and the clear signs of aging on the Tube. That though is largely down to planning context, and Shanghai has had the advantage of technology and hindsight.

Age of hardware aside, I'm not sure Shanghai's network is really more 'developed' than London's. If you take ratios such as daily total capacity / total population, or central area network density / population/business density, Shanghai still lags behind by some distance. While the Shanghai Metro's central core network is maturing, there's still plenty of bumpy ride ahead. Line 1's minimum 3 1/2 minute headway isn't sustainable, at some point in the next 10 years they'll have to take difficult decisions to have weekend closures to carry out signal upgrades to enable 30+tph operation on the busiest lines.

I'm not sure Shanghai Metro's hardware is universally superior either. The interchange passageway between Line 1 and Line 3 at Shanghai Railway Station looks very tired, and the Line 3 entry and exit passages at Hongkou Station are positively derelict. King's Cross St Pancras gives the former two a clear run for their money. Over the next two decades London will be well into the peak renewal (it doesn't have a choice) while Shanghai Metro will be entering the later years of its first lifecycle (when things will start, and has started already in some places, looking old).

For me it's the users and other soft aspects that influence the overall experience more than other things. London Underground would not be able to carry nearly as many people were it to operate in Shanghai in its exact form. People stand on the right and walk on the left on escalators, let passengers off the train first and shuffle inside trains to let people off without speaking. Such things are so ingrained in Londoners' minds so much that it's fair game to kick offenders in the groin. In Shanghai you have to pass through security checks that serve no purpose other than to provide employment to the unemployable, listen to never ending audio announcements containing American cringeworthy English, and sit in the station for up to 15 seconds after the doors have closed. Actually even in terms of speed and ease of walking through stations I think the Underground fairs better, despite the hardware challenges.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 04:00 PM   #3544
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Age of hardware aside, I'm not sure Shanghai's network is really more 'developed' than London's. If you take ratios such as daily total capacity / total population, or central area network density / population/business density, Shanghai still lags behind by some distance. While the Shanghai Metro's central core network is maturing, there's still plenty of bumpy ride ahead.
In order to make those ratios a fair comparison, you should really scale them by the overall population density of the cities. If every aspect of living in Shanghai is more densely populated, then you would also expect the same for the metro system. Hence total capacity to total population would not be a fair comparison.

I am very sorry to nitpick, I have done too much econometrics
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 04:34 PM   #3545
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For me it's the users and other soft aspects that influence the overall experience more than other things.
I would agree if the "other things" are up to a reasonable standard. To me, I think the infrastructure, or the hardware, is a like a prerequisite. It is only when the prerequisite has been passed, I would start placing heavier emphasis on soft aspects such as the users in valuing the overall experience. To me, London's tube just does not cut that prerequisite level of infrastructure.

I don't ask for much, I just want the Tube to be cleaner (I say that because I see dust particles blowing down the staircase, and rats running around the platform), to doesn't smell, and to have some form of ventilation. If the Tube in that sense is as good as Beijing's old Line 1, I would much prefer the Tube over the Shanghai metro.

Just my opinion though.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 06:07 PM   #3546
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I believe the discussion started on which city has more developed transport infrastructure instead of which metro is better. As mentioned by forumers, one needs to look at the modernity, convenience, accessibility, availability and even affordability.

In my opinion, while Shanghai scores over in terms of modernity and convenience, London takes the cake in terms of accessibility and availability. I don't mean accessibility for disabled but how far you need to walk on an average to reach the nearest station. Since London has other forms of rail transport other than the metro, it seems to have many times higher rail km per capita. The situation may however change in future the way Shanghai is expanding its metro. 10 years down the line, most of the city may have a metro station within walking distance.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 07:47 PM   #3547
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I would agree if the "other things" are up to a reasonable standard. To me, I think the infrastructure, or the hardware, is a like a prerequisite. It is only when the prerequisite has been passed, I would start placing heavier emphasis on soft aspects such as the users in valuing the overall experience. To me, London's tube just does not cut that prerequisite level of infrastructure.

I don't ask for much, I just want the Tube to be cleaner (I say that because I see dust particles blowing down the staircase, and rats running around the platform), to doesn't smell, and to have some form of ventilation. If the Tube in that sense is as good as Beijing's old Line 1, I would much prefer the Tube over the Shanghai metro.

Just my opinion though.
Each to their own, as these things always are I guess. Don't think there's a lot that can be done about the things you mention - the dust is probably to do with how the old tunnels were constructed, and probably the rats too - and they are pretty rare - I wouldn't say LU these days skimp on cleaning. As for ventilation - extremely expensive to rectify that with the tunnels that deep and small.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 07:52 PM   #3548
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In order to make those ratios a fair comparison, you should really scale them by the overall population density of the cities. If every aspect of living in Shanghai is more densely populated, then you would also expect the same for the metro system. Hence total capacity to total population would not be a fair comparison.

I am very sorry to nitpick, I have done too much econometrics
Struggling to understand what you mean here, or indeed how this in any way undermines my point. If you scale everything up by density, don't they cancel out being on both sides of the ratio?

Put simply, if you count the number of seats and standing spaces arriving into the Central Core per hour (say defined by Line 4 in Shanghai and Zone 1 in London, and for London including 'inner' services only), and divide that number by the respective urban population (not administrative or metropolitan), then I think London's number would be higher.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 01:50 AM   #3549
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Struggling to understand what you mean here, or indeed how this in any way undermines my point. If you scale everything up by density, don't they cancel out being on both sides of the ratio?

Put simply, if you count the number of seats and standing spaces arriving into the Central Core per hour (say defined by Line 4 in Shanghai and Zone 1 in London, and for London including 'inner' services only), and divide that number by the respective urban population (not administrative or metropolitan), then I think London's number would be higher.
What I am trying to say is that Shanghai is more densely populated than London in every single aspect of life. Everywhere in Shanghai will be more crowded than in London. The streets are more crowded, the living areas are more crowded, the restaurants are more crowded, the subway obviously will be more crowded as well. Hence it is only fair to compare how crowded the subway is relative to the expectation of "crowdyness" of the city.

If you still don't understand, I have an example. Let's assume that both London and Shanghai has a land area of 100. 100 people live in London while 1000 people live in Shanghai. London has a metro capacity of 100 and Shanghai has a metro capacity of 500.

Now, the population density of London is 100/100 =1, and the population of Shanghai is 1000/100 =10.

The subway density of London is 100/100 =1, and the subway density of Shanghai is 1000/500 =2.

Now, you can see on absolute term, London's subway capacity seem outdo Shanghai's, having 1 person per unit of subway capacity, while Shanghai has 2 person per unit of subway capacity. Does this mean London's subway is more developed than Shanghai's in terms of capacity per population? No.

If you take into consideration of the population density, London's subway density is just on par with its population density. London people in this case will find the subway just as crowded as anywhere else in London. However, if you look at Shanghai, the subway density if only 1/5th that of the population density. This means Shanghai is actually doing a better job in keeping its population less crowded in the subway than anywhere else in Shanghai. In other words, a visitor coming into Shanghai, after having experienced the "crowdyness" of the city and now stepping into Shanghai subway, would expect the subway to be much more crowded than it actually is. Shanghai subway is more developed because it is beating the norm.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 02:00 AM   #3550
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What I am trying to say is that Shanghai is more densely populated than London in every single aspect of life. Everywhere in Shanghai will be more crowded than in London. The streets are more crowded, the living areas are more crowded, the restaurants are more crowded, the subway obviously will be more crowded as well. Hence it is only fair to compare how crowded the subway is relative to the expectation of "crowdyness" of the city.

If you still don't understand, I have an example. Let's assume that both London and Shanghai has a land area of 100. 100 people live in London while 1000 people live in Shanghai. London has a metro capacity of 100 and Shanghai has a metro capacity of 500.

Now, the population density of London is 100/100 =1, and the population of Shanghai is 1000/100 =10.

The subway density of London is 100/100 =1, and the subway density of Shanghai is 1000/500 =2.

Now, you can see on absolute term, London's subway capacity seem outdo Shanghai's, having 1 person per unit of subway capacity, while Shanghai has 2 person per unit of subway capacity. Does this mean London's subway is more developed than Shanghai's in terms of capacity per population? No.

If you take into consideration of the population density, London's subway density is just on par with its population density. London people in this case will find the subway just as crowded as anywhere else in London. However, if you look at Shanghai, the subway density if only 1/5th that of the population density. This means Shanghai is actually doing a better job in keeping its population less crowded in the subway than anywhere else in Shanghai. In other words, a visitor coming into Shanghai, after having experienced the "crowdyness" of the city and now stepping into Shanghai subway, would expect the subway to be much more crowded than it actually is. Shanghai subway is more developed because it is beating the expectation.
Sorry, but that's such a cop-out. You manage high population density by having people living on top of each other not by squeezing them all in the same room. It's basically living space / land density rather than people / living space density. The latter is an absolute metric - you can maintain that while varying the former. The same applies to transport. You can create capacity more efficiently by having wider and longer trains, double decker trains, double decker tunnels etc, but you can't scrimp on unit capacities which are an absolute measure.

Basically you can have more capacity without requiring more footprint/land take, but you can't get away with not delivering the capacity itself.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 03:17 AM   #3551
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Sorry, but that's such a cop-out. You manage high population density by having people living on top of each other not by squeezing them all in the same room. It's basically living space / land density rather than people / living space density. The latter is an absolute metric - you can maintain that while varying the former. The same applies to transport. You can create capacity more efficiently by having wider and longer trains, double decker trains, double decker tunnels etc, but you can't scrimp on unit capacities which are an absolute measure.

Basically you can have more capacity without requiring more footprint/land take, but you can't get away with not delivering the capacity itself.
But the fact is, people in Shanghai do not stack houses on top of houses vertically upwards. People instead live in much smaller apartment units. Hows many people do you see in Shanghai live in an apartment of size bigger than an average house in London? The truth is, living in more confined spaces is just the way of life in cities that are more densely populated. It is simply the nature of a city of high population density.

While improving the subway capacity/population is always a positive thing, it is biased to compare subway development solely based on capacity/population because it penalises more densely populated cities for the nature of the city.

Another example, which street would you say is more crowded, Oxford Street in London or East Nanjing Road in Shanghai? While Oxford Street in absolute term may not be as crowded as East Nanjing Road, but compared to the rest the roads in London, Oxford Street is maybe 10x more crowded. However, East Nanjing Road feels more or less like a typical road that you would expect in Shanghai.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 03:32 AM   #3552
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One thing that still leaves me wondering about Shanghai's metro is frequency. I remember waiting for a train in a packed People's Square station during the evening rush hour. It was a bit of a nightmare. I would say fair enough if capacity was fully used up and the system simply coudln't cope. But then I realized that trains were going to one direction only every 4 or so minutes. Shanghai has a fairly new and modern system but why on earth it can't have at least 30tph on busy lines? I read somewhere that this was due to the lack of rolling stock. Is this still the case? Or signalling? How can a new metro system have such inferior signalling that does not allow trains to go every couple of minutes as it should be on any busy line?

Another point is comparing London vs Shanghai. There is one crucial difference which somewhat renders the entire discussion pointless: London has suburban/commuter rail which also serves as public transport within the city. For instance if I go from Wimbledon to the City I have an option to take tube (District Line) or National Rail to Blackfriars or other station. Railway lines sometimes duplicate tube lines or at least certain tube routes. Shanghai hasn't got any heavy rail system other than the metro and this is something it will have to build in order to have an extensive and adequate rail transit system. London is one example how it works (even if it's old and shabby in places). Paris, Tokyo and some German cities could be good examples too.

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Old January 24th, 2016, 03:32 AM   #3553
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Another example would be housing. From a Londoner's perspective, a larger-than-average apartment in Shanghai would seem very small and undesirable. While from a Shanghainese's perspective, a smaller-than-average house in London would seem like heaven.

So what it really comes down to is people's perception, which is based on the nature of the city the person grew up in.

You should not be penalised for this difference in perception. A city's subway system is built for the people of the city, not foreigners. So what really matters is how the people of the city perceives the subway - i.e. whether it is more crowded or less crowded than what they are used to.

If you are to insist on your absolute figure, I am sure you can find many smaller cities of lower population density than London that have a higher train capacity / population ratio while definitely not being as developed as London Tube.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 03:59 AM   #3554
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Being more developed doesn't mean just being bigger. Ok, cities have various densities and people are used to them however it's still fair to measure the percentage of population within walking distance of rail based public transport. In fact in a very dense city like Shanghai it should be easier to serve higher proportion.

I don't know which city has a more developed public transport by that measure, but I wouldn't be surprised if neither London nor Shanghai was all what close to the top. Of course some minimum size of a city would need to be defined.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 12:29 AM   #3555
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But the fact is, people in Shanghai do not stack houses on top of houses vertically upwards. People instead live in much smaller apartment units. Hows many people do you see in Shanghai live in an apartment of size bigger than an average house in London? The truth is, living in more confined spaces is just the way of life in cities that are more densely populated. It is simply the nature of a city of high population density.

While improving the subway capacity/population is always a positive thing, it is biased to compare subway development solely based on capacity/population because it penalises more densely populated cities for the nature of the city.

Another example, which street would you say is more crowded, Oxford Street in London or East Nanjing Road in Shanghai? While Oxford Street in absolute term may not be as crowded as East Nanjing Road, but compared to the rest the roads in London, Oxford Street is maybe 10x more crowded. However, East Nanjing Road feels more or less like a typical road that you would expect in Shanghai.
I'm not talking about journey comfort, I'm talking about people physically being able to travel. I'm talking about Shanghai Metro's ability to accommodate the growing trip rates that the growing economy will result in, and the extent to which these trip rates will be suppressed. The suppression of that underlying demand will seriously stall the agglomeration of knowledge based jobs upon which Shanghai's competitiveness against London, Tokyo, Paris, New York and Hong Kong depend.

"Penalises more densely populated cities for the nature of the city". That's just bizarre. Public transport works better with higher density not worse - Shanghai's population density should mean it can deliver a higher capacity / population density more economically than London. In fact it hasn't even achieved the same absolute capacity level.

The pace of Shanghai metro's development in the last 20 years has been nothing short of miraculous, but Shanghai isn't even half way there. As Shanghai mature (and is maturing) planning and building future lines will be more and more difficult. It very much looks like the authorities view Line 14 as the final addition to the central core network and there is an emerging 'the job is done' attitude. There is also no long-term plan about any programme of works to upgrade the early lines to enable 30tph which is sorely needed. All those things combined paint a rather worrying picture.

Finally I have no idea where your perception of living space comes from. Save having a garden my experience is that Shanghai's flats are more spacious than London's flats or houses. London's housing condition is approaching that of Shanghai in the 90s. What you see as a 4 bedroom house is in fact a house share with the living room used as a 5th bedroom. Scores of new properties on the market are one bed and studio. Those Victoria 'two up two down' have very small rooms compared to the average Shanghai 3-bed flat. Any larger ones are subdivided into 2 separate flats housing 2 families. British houses are called 'pokey' for a reason.

What this shows is that you can achieve 'capacity' despite density. On housing, London has been too shy about going tall while Shanghai embraced it. On transport capacity however London is much ahead.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 12:37 AM   #3556
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One thing that still leaves me wondering about Shanghai's metro is frequency. I remember waiting for a train in a packed People's Square station during the evening rush hour. It was a bit of a nightmare. I would say fair enough if capacity was fully used up and the system simply coudln't cope. But then I realized that trains were going to one direction only every 4 or so minutes. Shanghai has a fairly new and modern system but why on earth it can't have at least 30tph on busy lines? I read somewhere that this was due to the lack of rolling stock. Is this still the case? Or signalling? How can a new metro system have such inferior signalling that does not allow trains to go every couple of minutes as it should be on any busy line?

Another point is comparing London vs Shanghai. There is one crucial difference which somewhat renders the entire discussion pointless: London has suburban/commuter rail which also serves as public transport within the city. For instance if I go from Wimbledon to the City I have an option to take tube (District Line) or National Rail to Blackfriars or other station. Railway lines sometimes duplicate tube lines or at least certain tube routes. Shanghai hasn't got any heavy rail system other than the metro and this is something it will have to build in order to have an extensive and adequate rail transit system. London is one example how it works (even if it's old and shabby in places). Paris, Tokyo and some German cities could be good examples too.
The general consensus on Chinese forums is that the central sections of Lines 1 and 2 are operating at capacity, and any frequency increase would require signalling update. The newer lines can support higher frequencies AFAIK, but there's a national backlog of rolling stock orders.

On your other point, I always work in total urban rail capacity, so for London it's anything that primarily serves London zones 1-6, which includes most of South West, Southern, Southeastern 'inner' services, and more. In that respect Shanghai is still behind. Once you add in population for the whole metropolitan area (the ability of bringing in people further out), Shanghai is even more behind.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 02:09 AM   #3557
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The general consensus on Chinese forums is that the central sections of Lines 1 and 2 are operating at capacity, and any frequency increase would require signalling update. The newer lines can support higher frequencies AFAIK, but there's a national backlog of rolling stock orders.
So is it the stations 'operating at capacity' (really? Or perhaps not being organized to operate as efficiently as they do in Hong Kong or Singapore) or is it the 'backlog of rolling stock'? Or both? Since how long ago the rolling stock shortage has been an issue now? Like 10 years? For how long it will be an issue from now? Another 10 years?

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On your other point, I always work in total urban rail capacity, so for London it's anything that primarily serves London zones 1-6, which includes most of South West, Southern, Southeastern 'inner' services, and more. In that respect Shanghai is still behind. Once you add in population for the whole metropolitan area (the ability of bringing in people further out), Shanghai is even more behind.
Absolutely. Which is why I mentioned commuter rail. Shanghai is yet to build it. Are there any plans? I've heard of a rail line connecting Pudong and Hongqiao Airports. But I guess a city the size of Shanghai would need more than that. Like 10 times more.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 03:28 AM   #3558
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when are they going to split line 3 from line 4?
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Old January 25th, 2016, 06:05 AM   #3559
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But the question is, does Shanghai or any other Chinese cities for that matter really need an independent commuter rail in its traditional sense? Since Chinese urban frameworks are built up in a different sense compared to the western or Japanese way. Single family homes are still rare and Chinese cities don't sprawl as much, the area coverage of Chinese cities in relation to its population is much smaller compared to say London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Osaka or Tokyo. If you take Seoul for example, which Chinese cities are more similar to in terms of density and urban layout, it has sort of merged metro and commuter rail in a single comprehensive map (with some exceptions) with far reaching metro lines into the suburbs like the Chinese way.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 09:50 PM   #3560
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Originally Posted by VECTROTALENZIS View Post
But the question is, does Shanghai or any other Chinese cities for that matter really need an independent commuter rail in its traditional sense? Since Chinese urban frameworks are built up in a different sense compared to the western or Japanese way. Single family homes are still rare and Chinese cities don't sprawl as much, the area coverage of Chinese cities in relation to its population is much smaller compared to say London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Osaka or Tokyo. If you take Seoul for example, which Chinese cities are more similar to in terms of density and urban layout, it has sort of merged metro and commuter rail in a single comprehensive map (with some exceptions) with far reaching metro lines into the suburbs like the Chinese way.
I don't care about 'independent commuter system' - the distinction is often because of an accident of history (e.g. separate owning groups on different routes) rather than an indication of function.

It's about capacity. Shanghai's suburbs are dense, but that doesn't mean inner/outer services or parallel lines are not necessary. Take Line 1 for example, people from Xinzhuang inwards shouldn't have to fight for capacity with those from Minhang or Songjiang. What Xinzhuang desperately needs is a express line into the heart of Shanghai, coming out the other end running fast to Pengpu to take over the northern stations of Line 1. Simply using the national rail slow lines to Shanghai South wouldn't be enough as people will simply pile back onto Line 1.
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