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Author Topic: Chinese expressways and highways  (Read 14687 times)

TheGrassGuy

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Chinese expressways and highways
« on: December 10, 2019, 03:44:14 PM »

(No coronavirus comments here! Post them here instead: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=26301.0)

I'm surprised no one has created this thread yet. Now, let it be clear that this thread is about the PRC's road system; if you're looking for roads in Taiwan or Hong Kong, then you're in the wrong place.

So here's a basic rundown of roads in China. China's expressway system is called the National Trunk Highway System (中国国家干线公路系统). It contains nationally- and provincially-maintained expressways, prefixed with G (for 国/guo, the Chinese word for "country") and S (for 省/sheng, the Chinese word for "province"). It has 142,500 km of expressway, which is the largest such system in the world, and nearly twice the length of the interstate highway system. It is also the fastest-growing expressway system in the world. It expands so fast, and the route numbers change so easily, in fact, that Google Maps isn't really accurate sometimes. A more accurate option would be Baidu Maps and QQ Maps, and as a bonus, they both have equivalents of GSV too (though I would caution against using the latter's, as it uses Flash). Almost all of it is tolled (for a price not cheap), and there are toll booths at provincial boundaries, even on the non-expressways. And most of the time, they remain outside downtowns of cities.

The national expressways are also known as the "71118 network" (formerly 7918, until two more were added over the years). This is because it consists of 7 radial expressways, 11 N-S expressways, and 18 E-W expressways. G1-G7 are radial expressways from Beijing to other major cities in China, G11-G85 are the N-S expressways from east to west, G10-G80 are the E-W expressways from north to south, and G91-G99 are large beltway too large to be auxiliary routes. Note that the numbering pattern is in the opposite direction as the interstate highway system, and in the same direction as US highways.

There are also auxiliary and suffixed routes, formed by adding 2 extra digits or a suffix to the parent route number respectively. 0 followed by a digit 1-9 indicates a beltway (unlike here, most beltways in China are complete). 1 followed by a digit 1-9 indicates a spur route (these can be pretty long, actually, as all are supposed to cross a provincial border at least once). Suffixed routes are given an additional digit at the end (e.g. G15W2) if there are more than one on a parent route.

(More recently, suffixed routes have been replaced by auxiliary routes with 2 followed by a digit 1-9 after the parent router's number. Even more recently, the auxiliary routes have been renumbered so that there are no duplicates. For example, there used to be four G1501s, but now there is only one, and the rest are G1502, G1502, and G1504. These changes are so new that no mapping agencies, not even Chinese ones, have reflected these changes, and they seem to, for the most part, only exist on paper.)

Here is a map of the NTHS:


Provincial expressways work in much of the same way as national expressways, except that they are prefixed with S, have a yellow banner instead of a red one, and are contained within a single province much like state highways in the US. The numbering system of S-routes depends on which province you are in; in Fujian Province, they can even be 4-digit auxiliary routes. Many of these have been converted into auxiliary G-routes once extended past a provincial boundary.

Oh, and one more thing. Due to legal restrictions on Chinese GPS data, mapping agencies outside of the PRC must misalign their maps of mainland China. This means that satellite imagery does not align with the maps, and that roads get cut off at international borders. Know this before ranting here. And please try not to make this thread political, for the love of God.

Helpful links:
Expressways in China - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressways_of_China
List of NTHS expressways - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NTHS_Expressways
List of NTHS auxiliary expressways - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_auxiliary_NTHS_Expressways
List of provincial expressways of China - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Regional_Expressways_of_China

TL;DR: Mainland China's road system is so good that it makes ours look like a joke.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 07:05:13 PM by TheGrassGuy »
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US 89

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2019, 03:46:38 PM »

That map is so big it's unreadable.

ozarkman417

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2019, 05:01:22 PM »

TL;DR: Mainland China's road system is so good that it makes ours look like a joke.

Given their population and the number of major cities, it needs to bigger and better.
Chinathe rest of the developed world also beats us by a long shot when it comes to (passenger) rail service.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2019, 05:32:46 PM »

China the rest of the developed world also beats us by a long shot when it comes to (passenger) rail service.

How, exactly, do you figure Canada's passenger rail service "beats ours by a long shot"?
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TheGrassGuy

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2019, 06:13:55 PM »

That map is so big it's unreadable.
Have you tried waiting awhile?
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2019, 06:15:05 PM »

That map is so big it's unreadable.
Have you tried waiting awhile?

You can scale it down by specifying width and height. Make sure that you don't change the aspect ratio when choosing numbers. Here is the code.
Code: [Select]
[img width=800 height=657]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/China_National_Expressway_Network_english_-_Copy.svg[/img]
Most images are automatically scaled down on this forum, but .svg files are not.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 06:18:18 PM by 1 »
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2019, 10:33:58 PM »

Due to legal restrictions on Chinese GPS data, mapping agencies outside of the PRC must misalign their maps of mainland China.

Can you say more about this? Are alignments just off by a km or two here and there, or is the discrepancy more severe -- such as, say, I-5 going to San Francisco instead of Sacramento?
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Alps

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2019, 10:59:22 PM »

Due to legal restrictions on Chinese GPS data, mapping agencies outside of the PRC must misalign their maps of mainland China.

Can you say more about this? Are alignments just off by a km or two here and there, or is the discrepancy more severe -- such as, say, I-5 going to San Francisco instead of Sacramento?
I think it's just misaligned globally as opposed to distorted.

Chris

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2019, 04:03:52 AM »

Chinese expressways tend to have lower design speeds, with 80, 100 and 120 kmh/ appearing to be common. Since a large proportion of China is mountainous, a relatively large share of the expressway system has only an 80 km/h design speed, even in China there is a need to cut cost. There are tens of thousands of miles of expressway that run through incredible terrain. I-70 through the Glenwood Canyon would just look like any other expressway in provinces like Guizhou, Yunnan or Guangxi.

Guizhou province in particular has extremely rugged terrain, most of their expressways have a bridge/tunnel ratio of over 50%, sometimes even exceeding 80%. The province of Guizhou has more high bridges than all other countries in the world combined.

China has also passed the U.S. for having the highest elevation expressways. The highest opened so far is G0613 at Bayan Har Pass at 4829 meters (15,843 ft) above sea level. There are several others that are higher than I-70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Chinese expressways are both numbered and named. Their names are a portmanteau of their endpoints. For example G0613 is named Xili Expressway, short for Xining - Lijiang Expressway. Older expressways tend to have additional multiple names dating back to the initially constructed segments. It is also not uncommon for provincial (S) expressways to be absorbed into a longer national (G) expressway.

Some subdivisions of China are not provinces, but regions, for example Guangxi and Inner Mongolia, but they seem to maintain S-numbering for their expressways.

Much like the U.S., the expressways are developed and owned by the provinces. Each province usually has an expressway development agency and an expressway operation agency. There used to be toll plazas at provincial borders but they are now being scrapped and turned into an interoperable system, the goal was to have this completed by the end of 2019.

Also interesting, China tends to open its new expressways in bursts, the biggest bang is always in the last 10 days of December, when they open thousands of miles of new expressways, but also just before or at national holidays. So the 142,500 km figure will likely exceed 150,000 kilometers by 31 December.

One commonly cited goal of expressway construction is to 'alleviate poverty-stricken areas'. It is seen as very prestigious to have all prefectures and counties in a province linked by expressway. These issues are very often cited in the Chinese media when a new expressway opens or starts construction.

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2019, 07:50:49 AM »

Due to legal restrictions on Chinese GPS data, mapping agencies outside of the PRC must misalign their maps of mainland China.

Can you say more about this? Are alignments just off by a km or two here and there, or is the discrepancy more severe -- such as, say, I-5 going to San Francisco instead of Sacramento?

Someone gave me Python code to fix the misalignment (this was for an internship, but not my current one). It's much less than 1 km.

You can see the difference in satellite view.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2019, 11:43:06 AM »


Due to legal restrictions on Chinese GPS data, mapping agencies outside of the PRC must misalign their maps of mainland China.

Can you say more about this? Are alignments just off by a km or two here and there, or is the discrepancy more severe -- such as, say, I-5 going to San Francisco instead of Sacramento?

The misalignment is neither a set distance nor a set direction.  Rather, different locations are offset by a different factor(s), which is determined by an algorithm proprietary to the Chinese government.  Specifically, the latitude and longitude of different locations are shifted by different amounts based on the algorithm.  The difference can be as little as ~100 meters or as great as nearly ¾ km.  For 1 to have been given a conversion tool, such was either specifically allowed by the Chinese government or else back-engineered by leaked information.  Considering it was for an internship, one would hope the former.

Mapping sites whose street maps match their satellite imagery in China have either...
(1)  offset both maps to the Chinese datum (e.g., Here), or
(2)  collected mapping information illegally from personal GPS devices (e.g., OSM), or
(3)  created a further level of obfuscation that doesn't actually match either datum (e.g., Baidu).
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2019, 12:28:27 PM »

BTW I challenged FritzOwl to turn this into an interstate system yesterday on PM. Haven't heard from him yet.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2019, 05:05:34 PM »

BTW I challenged FritzOwl to turn this into an interstate system yesterday on PM. Haven't heard from him yet.
He may just incorporate it into his existing interstate system, creating ferries across the Pacific.
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TheGrassGuy

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2019, 06:30:41 PM »

BTW I challenged FritzOwl to turn this into an interstate system yesterday on PM. Haven't heard from him yet.
He may just incorporate it into his existing interstate system, creating ferries across the Pacific.
Come on, he's not THAT crazy, is he? There are definitely more than 99 possible N-S highways in America AND China, you get the gist.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2019, 01:41:19 PM »

You also have to check Chinese rail transit systems. They are only in the beginning, but plans are really massive. Many cities are planning over 250 miles of metro lines.
BTW I challenged FritzOwl to turn this into an interstate system yesterday on PM. Haven't heard from him yet.

No need. Combine all provincial expressway plans, and you get real life FritzOwling :sombrero:.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2019, 07:14:12 PM »

You also have to check Chinese rail transit systems. They are only in the beginning, but plans are really massive. Many cities are planning over 250 miles of metro lines.
BTW I challenged FritzOwl to turn this into an interstate system yesterday on PM. Haven't heard from him yet.

No need. Combine all provincial expressway plans, and you get real life FritzOwling :sombrero:.

¿Ditto para las autostradas en España? :sombrero:
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2019, 06:11:03 PM »

You know, with all the elevated freeways and lane expansions going around in major cities, not to mention the destruction to smaller towns and villages by new additions to the national expressway system, the amount of NIMBYs in China must be ridiculous.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2019, 06:38:22 PM »

You know, with all the elevated freeways and lane expansions going around in major cities, not to mention the destruction to smaller towns and villages by new additions to the national expressway system, the amount of NIMBYs in China must be ridiculous.
They don't have a voice.

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2019, 06:49:53 PM »

You know, with all the elevated freeways and lane expansions going around in major cities, not to mention the destruction to smaller towns and villages by new additions to the national expressway system, the amount of NIMBYs in China must be ridiculous.
They don't have a voice.
Thank God for America
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2019, 11:57:10 AM »

Many of the villages had no road system before until they dug one of their own. China has many rail lines including passenger rail. The road system is tolled also, with nationwide bus service. I am impressed with the road and rail systems in China, considering that they had to build them through mountains. This makes the numerous bridges and tunnels necessary. The only thing I am disappointed in is that the roads were built with Tarmac. I prefer Cement.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2019, 01:34:21 PM »

The only thing I am disappointed in is that the roads were built with Tarmac. I prefer Cement.

Rest assured, good sir, that asphalt concrete has cement in it.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2020, 06:54:30 PM »

From what my parents say, at least in Shanghai, people WANT their land to be taken by the government (for infrastructure or redevelopment etc.) because the government reimburses the displaced people more money than what their property was worth.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2020, 12:16:49 PM »

Wikipedia says that Chinese expressways are usually posted in Chinese and English, except for Inner Mongolia (Mongolian and Chinese) and Xinjiang (Uyghur and Chinese). But a road video from Qinghai on the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway shows some signs in Chinese, English, Mongolian, and Uyghur. Here's the video in question (note the Chinglish at 0:17):

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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2020, 11:36:13 AM »

Wikipedia says that Chinese expressways are usually posted in Chinese and English, except for Inner Mongolia (Mongolian and Chinese) and Xinjiang (Uyghur and Chinese). But a road video from Qinghai on the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway shows some signs in Chinese, English, Mongolian, and Uyghur. Here's the video in question (note the Chinglish at 0:17):


Very cool how for Mongolian, they use the traditional Mongolian script, rather than the Cyrillic alphabet.
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Re: Chinese expressways and highways
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2020, 02:06:43 PM »

Wikipedia says that Chinese expressways are usually posted in Chinese and English, except for Inner Mongolia (Mongolian and Chinese) and Xinjiang (Uyghur and Chinese). But a road video from Qinghai on the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway shows some signs in Chinese, English, Mongolian, and Uyghur. Here's the video in question (note the Chinglish at 0:17)

100km/h minimum speed for cars?! (At 5:10) I could get into that.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 02:08:44 PM by Kniwt »
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