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Making Tracks: Rail Networks in World Cities

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Urban rail networks are a critical component of successful cities able to compete at a global level in the twenty-first century. They enhance a city's economic efficiency, quality of life, and image through their traditional role as provider of local mobility between home, work, and leisure, as well as their new role in supporting global mobility between airports, business districts, and other critical economic nodes as a strategy to attract highly mobile high-human-capital individuals, investment, and tourists. Using a database of 140 urban rail transit systems at five intervals since 1970, we rank cities using an index that tracks each system's level of population exposure as well as its provision of airport access. We find that (1) higher ranked producer service cities provide better quality local and global mobility; (2) investment in urban rail has dramatically shifted to Asia and that continent's megacities are poised to become leaders in providing high levels of local and global mobility; and (3) some developing world cities neglected in the world cities literature have invested in global over local mobility.

Keywords: ciudades del mundo; ferrocarril; network; rail; red; transit; transporte; world cities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography,University of North Dakota, 2: Department of Geography,The Ohio State University,

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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