Chinese city clusters: current urban transport technology and large labor markets? - Alain Bertaud
Urban productivity and creativity increases with the size of labor markets. However, the number of workers in an urban area indicate only the potential size of the labor market. Effective labor markets are defined by workers ability to reach any job in an urban area in less than one hour commute. Beyond this commuting time productivity decreases.
China's National Development and Reform Commission’ s National Plan on New Urbanization (2014-2020) has identified 11 existing urban clusters where investments in infrastructure will be concentrated. The size of the 5 larger clusters range from 60 to 110 million people. The current mode split between city buses, BRT, subway and suburban rail, individual cars and freight trucks will be unable to integrate such large labor markets. Is there a possibility that new transport technology could serve such large labor markets? Or does the maximum labor market size has already be reached in metropolitan areas like Tokyo and Mexico city?