Weight Under Steel Wheels: Material Stock and Flow Analysis of High‐Speed Rail in China

11 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2020

See all articles by Tao Wang

Tao Wang

Ritsumeikan University - Global Innovation Research Organization

Jun Zhou

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE)

Ye Yue

Independent

Jie Yang

Independent

Seiji Hashimoto

Ritsumeikan University

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

The construction of a nation‐wide high‐speed rail (HSR) network has emerged as a hugely expensive and ambitious infrastructure project in China. As of December 2012, some 8,800 kilometers (km) of double‐track HSR lines came into service in the country, accounting for 40% of the total HSR length in the world. The network is expected to expand to 34,000 km or longer in around two decades. As the first HSR system specially built and operated in an economically developing country, it helps integrate the sprawling economy and lift the quality of life of the increasing urban population. China's experiences in HSR are expected to be of value to other countries aiming to adopt bullet train systems, especially those at a similar level of industrialization and urbanization. This work specifically examines material stocks and flows associated with the HSR infrastructure construction in China. A major distinction from the construction of HSR tracks in Europe is that nearly 70% of the HSR tracks in China are laid upon bridges or inside tunnels, which are structures that demand great amounts of raw materials. The entire network, once completed by 2030, will cumulatively require 83 to 137 million tonnes (Mt) of steel and 560 to 920 Mt of cement. This is still a small share of China's use of material resources. Nonetheless, the massive application of the steel‐ and cement‐intensive structures deserves consideration when assessing the environmental performance of HSR over its entire life cycle.

Keywords: cement, high‐speed rail, industrial ecology, material stock and flow analysis (MSFA), network density, steel

Suggested Citation

Wang, Tao and Zhou, Jun and Yue, Ye and Yang, Jie and Hashimoto, Seiji, Weight Under Steel Wheels: Material Stock and Flow Analysis of High‐Speed Rail in China (December 2016). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 20, Issue 6, pp. 1349-1359, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12383

Tao Wang (Contact Author)

Ritsumeikan University - Global Innovation Research Organization ( email )

1-1-1 Noji-higashi
Kusatsu, Shiga 525-8577
Japan

Jun Zhou

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE)

39 South College Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100081
China

Ye Yue

Independent

Jie Yang

Independent

Seiji Hashimoto

Ritsumeikan University

Japan

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
200
PlumX Metrics