How walkable is the Chengdu Metro?

Chengdu Metro 2020 Plans mapped into Google Maps

Using QGIS, as well as Chengdu Metro Station Data from Wikipedia, as well as Google Maps to search for each possible location of each subway station, I mapped out all the Chengdu Metro Stations that are planned to be built by 2020.

The red squares are the subway stations, and the purple circle are 1,000 meter walking distances (a little bit over a half mile) from each station.

This map does show a considerable amount of access radially, as well as a circular route, but I’m curious about it’s purpose: is this supposed to serve long-distance riders, such as commuters going to work? How does bus service, bicycling, and walking complement the shorter distance services that this metro cannot? In addition, what are the expected mode-shifts from automobile to subway, especially given that Chinese cities are trying to cut down their greenhouse gas emissions through alternative forms of transportation?

What this map is not telling us is the land use of each station; I can imagine that the center of the city (i.e Tianfu Square, Chunxi Road) are major commercial and entertainment hubs for the city, but what about the outer areas? Do we have single use, high-rise condominiums; similarly, how about single-use industrial parks? What is the public life in the outer stations away from the city center; are there parks? Similarly, what are the demographics of this area?

I am very curious about these questions, but unfortunately, the Chinese government isn’t the most transparent when it comes to answering these sort of questions. Similarly, without a strong knowledge of the Chinese language, these questions are really hard to answer, especially since there is a lot of global pressure for Chinese cities to be sustainable. If one wants to do planning in China, one needs to understand the language and the culture.

There is a lot we don’t know about this metro system, and lots of questions we need to ask.

Note: My Chinese isn’t exactly the most fluent, so these are “approximate locations” of where these subway stations are based on the names of the stations; there’s a chance some places I placed are slightly off. I am sure that the maps for these station locations can be find somewhere, but the Chinese government isn’t necessarily the most transparent in terms of urban planning. For example, it is very difficult to find a zoning map for Chengdu (I imagine the city is changing very quickly) on the Internet.

For GIS shapefiles of these subway stations, please contact me at

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