Recently, “Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle on Rails” went viral in Chongqing. The story goes back to the Integrated Transportation Development Plan of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle released by the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Transport at the end of June 2021.
The Plan clarifies that by 2025, the construction of the “Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle on Rails” will be completed with the total length of rails topping 10,000 km. Meanwhile, relevant parties will strive to make it possible that people can spend only one hour traveling between Chengdu and Chongqing, central cities, and key node cities in the economic circle or taking a bus to work in the Chongqing-Chengdu metropolitan area.
Against the backdrop, TOD (transit-oriented development) comes under the spotlight, bringing opportunities and leading urban development.
Convenient transportation is just one of its benefits. For example, Longfor Guangnian Jinsha Paradise Walk is a part of the Shapingba Railway Station-Integrated Transport Hub, which incorporates a high-speed railway station, the Chongqing Rail Transit network, a bus transfer hub, a shopping mall, offices, and entertainment facilities. Only three days after its opening, the Paradise Walk received approaching 900,000 visitors and realized over 100 million yuan worth of revenue.
Experts said TOD could lead to urban development, ease traffic congestion, and improve the quality of cities. To be specific, intensive development will be carried out to create a diverse functional area integrating residences, office space, transportation network, commerce, shopping, and entertainment within the zone with the rail transit stations as the center and 600m–800m (about a 10-minute walking distance) as the radius. Ultimately, an intensive and compact, harmonious, and organic city with grouped network development is expected to come into being.
According to the Rail Transit Leads Urban Development Forum— TOD in Chengdu and Chongqing by Cushman & Wakefield, Tokyo built many railway lines connected by the Yamanote Line, and interchange stations, such as Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ueno, have developed into sub-centers of the Greater Tokyo Area.
The Greater Tokyo Area features at least 7,000-kilometer-long operating rail lines, and stations are within the 10-minute walking distance of the majority of places. The accessible transportation allows people living in Tokyo Metropolis, Kanagawa Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture around Tokyo, and Tochigi Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture, and Ibaraki Prefecture to enjoy the same quality of life just like residents of Tokyo. Helped by rail lines, the Greater Tokyo Area expands.
That’s why Chongqing and Chengdu, the two centers of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, can learn from Tokyo.
Zhang Yupeng, General Manager of the Western China Region of Cushman & Wakefield, said TOD-powered urban and regional development had become a critical strategy for Chengdu-Chongqing integrated growth. He believed that with the intensive development of rail transit, people could live life by traveling between different cities or regions, enriching their lives and enhancing their sense of happiness. At the same time, this move will accelerate and intensify the flow of industrial factors to cities surrounding Chengdu and Chongqing and thus grow the industries there.
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