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Transit-oriented development and air quality in Chinese cities: A city-level examination


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In this paper, we aim to see whether transit-oriented development (TOD) in Chinese cities is associated with better air quality. We first identify 37 Chinese cities with existing urban rail transit and/or bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. For each of these cities we generate performance-based TOD indicators – including measures such as urban area coverage, population coverage, street network density and land use mix within station catchment areas – and construct composite TOD indices for each city using those indicators. We also collect daily air quality index (AQI) data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China over the entire year 2014 for 152 cities and calculate annual and seasonal average AQIs for each city. Regression models provide some evidence that rail-based TOD is associated with better air quality, after controlling for meteorological, demographic and economic characteristics. BRT-based TOD shows no significant relationship.

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