The Yangtze River Delta region, one of China's most dynamic areas, is speeding up the development of its transportation system to create more substantial integration.
It plans to build several high-speed railways to achieve a one-or-two-hour economic circle, which refers to a rapid transit system that can bring people from one city in the delta region to another, in just one or two hours.
According to a blueprint from the cross-cities rail traffic network on construction throughout the Yangtze River Delta, passed by the State Council of China last year, five railways will link nearly 10 big cities in East China in the coming years.
As a chief axis in the network system, the construction of a railway linking Shanghai and Nanjing, two key cities in the region, will be completed by 2010.
Statistics show that when the railway is finished, the train will run at about 350 miles per hour and the original travelling time of three hours between the two cities will be reduced to only one hour.
Analysts said the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway would greatly accelerate the integration of the cities in the Yangtze River Delta region and speed up economic integration.
However, they said this railway must be constructed in accordance with the transportation network of the whole area of the delta.
Meanwhile, authorities in the region's Zhejiang Province have outlined plans for investing at least 150 billion yuan (US$18.5 billion) in railway development in the next five years.
The money, a joint investment by Zhejiang Government and the Ministry of Railways, will be spent on upgrading existing tracks and building new ones during the current Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period, said officials from the Zhejiang Provincial Development and Reform Commission.
And the Shanghai Railway Administration is about to spend 20 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion) on railway construction in 2006.
Apart from high-speed railways, more expressways will be constructed in the region to shorten distances between cities.
The Ministry of Communications, which is responsible for highway and inland waterway transport in China, issued its first regional transportation blueprint for the Yangtze River Delta region last year.
According to the blueprint, by 2020 the region will have 300,000 kilometres of highways.
Highways have for years been a major form of transportation between Shanghai and neighbouring provinces. The city has been speeding up its expressway network construction in the past five years, building eight expressways with a combined length of about 400 kilometres.
According to the Shanghai Municipal Engineering Administration, the city's current expressway network allows people to enter the network within 15 minutes, switch to any expressway within 30 minutes, and arrive at any spot on the network within 60 minutes.
The new expressway network will provide easier access to the city's two transportation hubs, Yangshan Deep-water Port and Pudong International Airport.
In addition, drivers wanting to enter Shanghai who are coming from other provinces, such as Zhejiang and Jiangsu, will have more route options thanks to the network.
Shanghai plans to build an expressway to Jiangsu via Chongming Island. Meanwhile, the four-lane expressway between Shanghai and Nanjing will be widened to eight lanes.
Source: China Daily