China's Breakneck Metro System Growth, in One Amazing GIF

By Bridget O'Donnell, May 23, 2017

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China's growth in the transportation sector is impressive. Look no further than its metro systems, which have gone from covering just three cities in 1990 to over 40 by 2020.

An incredible graphic making the rounds online recently shows just how fast the country's subway systems have grown. Watch the staggering pace of 30 years of development in just seconds with this GIF:

Image via Transit Oriented

Explaining the graphics, illustrator Peter Dovak writes:

"Metro lines in China (along with Taiwan and Hong Kong) are being built at an incredible rate. Before 1990, they could be found in just three cities—Beijing, first opening in 1969; Hong Kong in 1979, and Tianjin in 1984.  Growth was modest for many years, but has become exponentially more rapid over time and now dwarfs the rest of the world's progress.  In just the thirty years from 1990 to 2020, the number of cities with a metro system will grow from those original three to over forty—with more to come soon after.

"In this time, Beijing and Shanghai in particular have ballooned from nearly nothing into the world's two largest, in both length and annual ridership. The timeline of their expansion alone is mesmerizing."

READ MORE: Shanghai's 20 Years of Insane Subway Expansion

To show just how quickly Beijing and Shanghai's metro systems have grown, Dovak has also created this mesmerizing GIF comparing the speeds of the two:

Beijing and Shanghai Metro growth
Image via Transit Oriented

READ MORE: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, This is What Your Subway Networks Will Look Like in 2020

[Cover image via Pexels]

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