China and Transportation: What We Can Learn in the United States

China's economy has been the envy of the world for a decade, but what about its transportation system? With the largest population in the world and growing, maybe we should be looking at its mobility. The economic superpower has built a 21st century road system to keep up with its new appetite for cars.

Transportation economist and Vice President of Policy Research at Reason Foundation, Adrian Moore, says that China is using toll roads and science to keep up with the largest car market in the world. He sat down with to talk about what he calls, "the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century."

Moore has been working with China on free market transportation solutions for booming cities that are attracting hundreds of thousands of people every month. China's demand for cars is being driven by its new middle class, which is roughly the size of the entire United States population.

Doing transportation right is something China can't afford to do wrong. Moore explains what it is doing right and what this "capitalist country" can learn from the "avowedly communist country".

Filmed and edited by Sharif Christopher Matar.

Approximately 10 minutes.

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  • ||

    Wow, Thomas Friedman now writes for Reason under a pen name....

  • np||

    ... you didn't watch the video, amirite?

    "The bad side is of course, that this is a highly authoritarian government, a highly authoritarian society. They've not held back from displacing millions of people in order to build this infrastructure.

    There's no property rights there, so they've done what they want, when they want, and how they want.. which when it works, you know, looks like an economic benefit because you're not counting the cost of all the people who are displaced or pushed aside. And when it doesn't work or when you have problems of corruption, which still crop up not infrequently in China, there's a lot of resources that get siphoned off or wasted.

    [.. on to turning to China turning to the private sector ..]

    So here [USA] we have this capitalist culture and country, and we have this incredibly socialist transportation system, where the idea of having the private sector build and run a road is just craaazy talk.

    And over in China where it's an avowed communist system, the idea of having the private sector build and run a road is like, 'Well.. yeah?! How else are we going to build all the roads'"

    Anyways, the last bit reminds me of the irony of FAA here and private Air Traffic Controls in other countries where you wouldn't expect

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  • John Locke||

    Link Please.

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  • NotSure||

    That is a lot of writing, I suppose you are now going to tell me that this a lot to do with the Chinese transportation system.

  • Blacksmithking||


    I like cats and walks on the beach and strawberries.

  • Realist||

    In ways China is more capitalist than the is just not a Democracy.

  • ||

    In many ways the USA is more authoritarian than China... it is just not a free market.

  • CE||

    Communists, libertarians, and roadz. Should be a good comment thread.

  • np||

    Somalia Road Corporation, LLC. Coming to a city near you.

  • SIV||

    Hey Robert Poole! Go fuck yourself!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Let's not have our government think its okay to try to disguise non market based socialist infrastructure as something market based, okay?

  • e||

    "Every city in China...there's a lot of people on the buses and trains..they really do use all the modes of transportation."

    Sounds pretty commie to me. I hope Moore can get them to scrap all that stuff and so the poor can bum rides off people like they do here. Seriously, how many of you give poor people rides in your car?

  • Bioconservative||

    What sounds commie (or, rather, libertarian in this case) to me is not having a choice between the hassle and discomfort of commercial flights and the relative relaxation of high-speed rail.

  • NotSure||

    If you think high speed rail is such a good investment put your own money into. Always easier to invest when its not your own money involved.

  • Brett||

    that's not it at all. What he's saying s that people who don't own cars are such an exception; that you pick up your neighbor who's car is getting fixed, or you take turn driving kids to baseball practice, or you drive your 90 year old grandmother to the doctor.

  • NotSure||

    The CCP is authoritarian, but they are communist in name only, I remember a global survey asking people what ideology they followed, in China the number of communists was one of the lowest (France had the most communists).

    China is not the most free market place, but its sheer size and the impossiblity of the government being in complete control will mean they can do more things outside the eye of the government than France for example.

  • Bioconservative||

    Thank goodness that there weren't any libertarians in China back when they started to build their expressway network.

    Otherwise, every non-access-controlled 2-lane road crammed with cars would be tolled and far more expensive for the end user than the current, state-of-the-art expressway network.

  • anon||


    Name makes me laugh though; I immediately think "shit."

  • dave||

    great discussion


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