A holistic motility understanding of the social phenomena underlying inter-city high-speed rail commuting: Evidence from China's Yangtze River Delta



Lin, Siyi ORCID: 0000-0002-7968-653X, Chen, Chia-Lin, Yu, Xiaohan ORCID: 0009-0009-6740-6551, Chung, Hyungchul ORCID: 0000-0002-7609-6112 and Vickerman, Roger ORCID: 0000-0003-4258-8474
(2024) A holistic motility understanding of the social phenomena underlying inter-city high-speed rail commuting: Evidence from China's Yangtze River Delta. Case Studies on Transport Policy, 15. p. 101131.

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Abstract

As high-speed rail (HSR) becomes more widespread, inter-city commuting is becoming an increasingly prevalent social phenomenon, yet little attention has been paid to obtaining a deeper understanding of the interdependence of various factors and how they contribute to the phenomena. This paper fills the gap by utilising the concept of motility to frame the analyses of in-depth interviews with HSR commuters between Suzhou and Shanghai in China's Yangtze River Delta. As the first in-depth qualitative study on this topic, our findings advance a holistic understanding of the perception, experience, compromised habits, strategies, and decision trade-off underlying the HSR intercity commuting behind the dark mobility numbers. This new empirical evidence of HSR commuting sheds light on the interdependence of the three elements of motility (range of possibilities, competence and cognitive appropriation). With better employment opportunities accessible by HSR, yet due to the nature of work, personal and family situations, and mobility constraints, cognitive appropriation of HSR commuters leads to various deliberate habits and strategies for daily, weekly, and flexible commuting, which is a precarious balance between individual competence and range of possibilities prompted by HSR either favourable or unfavourable conditions. These issues reflect the value of motility for critical assessments of transport policy and wider associated policy areas to achieve subsequent improvement of personal well-being. Also, the dominant one-way commuting from neighbouring smaller cities to economic powerhouse reflects a need for strategies that coordinate economic function and transport accessibility and enable better balanced two-way economic and commuting patterns in the long run.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 3509 Transportation, Logistics and Supply Chains, 35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2023 08:51
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 06:55
DOI: 10.1016/j.cstp.2023.101131
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2023.101131
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3177195