PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (11): 1602-1611.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.11.003

• Industrial Economy and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of road transport efficiency in China during 1997-2010 based on SBM-Undesirable model

YANG Liangjie1,2, WU Wei2, SU Qin1, JIANG Xiaowei3, WEI Yunlong4   

  1. 1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241003, China;
    2. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China;
    3. Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for Rural Environmental Protection and Ecological Remediation, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China;
    4. College of Economic and Management, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
  • Received:2013-06-01 Revised:2013-09-01 Online:2013-11-25 Published:2013-11-25

Abstract: Road transport is an important foundation for the development of a modern economy in accelerating the velocity factor of production, and plays an important role in promoting regional integration process. Thus transport efficiency has become an important index for road transport service evaluation. With the implementation of the sustainable strategy, China's economic growth will undergo a transition from extensive to intensive. It will require more efficient road transport and an optimized development mode. To make objective, fair and accurate comprehensive evaluation, different aspects of road transport efficiency during a certain period of operation are examined, including investment in highway facilities, transportation facilities, output of highway passenger, and efficiency of implementing comprehensive measurements of the functions of cargo transportation. High performance of highway transportation system means finding root causes of a potential problem in a timely fashion, facilitating quick solutions, and putting forward countermeasures. This article introduces undesirable outputs to build a road transport efficiency evaluation model, which uses the kilometers of highways, number of road transport employees, number of vehicles owned by road transport operators, and energy consumption by road transport as the indicators of investment made by provinces in road transport, uses the amounts of cargo and passenger turnovers in the scales of provinces and the municipalities directly under the central government as the indicators of desired output, and considers negative externalities of road transport output, such as road congestion, environmental pollution, traffic accidents, ecological damage as the results of undesirable outputs. In this article, using SBM-Undesirable model, we attempted to evaluate road transport efficiency from 1997 to 2010, describe the changes of road transport efficiency from a time perspective, and find ways to overcome the road transport inefficiencies. The results showed that: (1) The overall level of road transport efficiency in China is low, and it showed a fluctuating downward trend between 1997 and 2010, especially more prominent in 2008. (2) The negative external effects of road transport output reduce the overall level of efficiency. The change of pure technological efficiency is the main factor that affects the changes of overall road transport efficiency. (3) There are significant regional differences in road transport efficiency in China. Road transport efficiency in eastern region with higher level of economic development is also higher, while the transport efficiency in mid-west region with lower level of economic development is lower, and this difference shows a growing trend. (4) From the spatial perspective, the equilibrium of road transport efficiency in China tends to decrease, and it is gradually changing from relatively balanced state to unbalanced state, even to a polarized state in recent years. (5) The important approaches that could improve transport efficiency consist of improving resource utilization efficiency, optimizing resource allocation capability, reducing the negative external effects of output, and increasing the effective output of transport. In this article, due to limited availability of relevant data, the negative external effects of outputs only include road transport accidents and road transport carbon dioxide emissions for analysis and evaluation. In addition, the mechanism of changes of road transport efficiency is unclear.

Key words: road transport efficiency, SBM-Undesirable model, spatio-temporal evolution, undesirable output