Institutional and economic reforms in China have not only delivered major improvements in people’s living standards but also changed the spatial structure of Chinese cities. In addition, substantially increased commuting times have become a serious problem influencing quality of life in the mega-cities of China. Accordingly, research into the dynamics of urban restructuring in rapidly growing Chinese cities and the impacts on workers’ commuting patterns would provide important evidence in this research field. The results of this case study suggest that polycentric urban development has a significant influence on employees’ commuting times. Promoting local jobs-housing balance in sub-centres would shorten commuting times for workers. The findings also suggest that the locations and types of employment centres are significantly associated with individuals’ choice of housing and workplace locations, and accordingly their commuting behaviour. The effects of decentralization of employment on workers’ commuting times differ depending on the extent of suburbanization of different economic sectors. The findings in this research also suggest that workers’ commuting behaviour is related to individual socio-economic characteristics, such as income and education.
- commuting time
- polycentric city
- quality of life
- Socio-economic characteristics