China will work to accelerate the development of urban and suburban railways in metropolitan regions, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council on Dec 17.
Citywide railways in metropolitan regions, including urban and suburban lines, are rail systems designed to provide public transport services with higher speed and larger capacity for commuters, the circular said.
They should mainly sit in central cities inside an economically developed and densely populated metropolitan region, connecting urban districts of each city with its suburban area and surrounding towns.
Preferred candidate areas for construction of the railways include the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Yangtze River Delta, the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and others eligible in financial standing, passenger traffic and development needs.
With a focus on meeting one-hour commuting needs, these citywide railways should be incorporated into a clearly layered and efficiently integrated transportation system, together with main railways, intercity railways and urban rail transit lines, each geared toward specific functions.
Their layout should highlight support for key functional zones in a metropolitan region, with stations set up to achieve connection between towns home to no less than 50,000 residents and important industrial parks and scenic spots, to attract passenger flows.
For new lines on citywide railways, one-way journeys should take no more than an hour, with designed speed falling between 100 and 160 kilometers per hour, and average distance between stations no less than 3 km. And the interval between two trains during morning and evening rush hours should not exceed 10 minutes.
Environment-friendly measures in construction projects should be aligned with requirements for ecological and environmental conservation, and railways should be built on the ground as much as possible, the circular said.
For better travel services, online queries, mobile payment and other intelligent applications should be promoted for buying tickets, entering and exiting stations, and boarding trains, with backing from technologies like 5G, internet of things, artificial intelligence and big data.
A reasonable fare system should be in place featuring various price levels and dynamic adjustment, the circular added.