GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (4): 710-720.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201404011

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Population coverage evaluation of civil airports in China based on optimization models

DAI Teqi1, ZHANG Yuhan1, WANG Jiao'e2, TAO Zhuolin1   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2013-10-10 Revised:2014-01-08 Online:2014-04-10 Published:2014-04-10

Abstract: In recent years, with the rapid growth of China's airports, the overlap of airports' market areas has gained increasing attention. The efficiency evaluation of airports' spatial distribution and spatial optimization of the airport layout have become a key topic in transportation geography. Based on the county-level population data in 2010, this study develops three indexes, namely population coverage ratio, population overlap ratio and redundancy ratio, and uses them to evaluate the efficiency of population coverage of civil airports during the 11th Five-year Plan (from 2005 to 2010) by comparing the three indexes of actual airports layout with the indexes from optimal models. Covering models, such as Location Set Covering Problem model and Maximal Covering Location Problem model, are used to identify the optimal airport locations and calculate the optimal indexes. The results indicate that the overall coverage ratio of China's airport system was greatly improved from 2005 to 2010, but still can be further optimized with an increase of about 27% both in 2005 and 2010. Therefore, more airports should be built in the central region of China to realize the optimization. The overlap ratio in 2010 is raised but closer to the optimal overlap ratio, which means the overlap of airports' areas was also improved from 2005 to 2010. This result also indicates that the lower population overlap ratio does not necessarily mean a better layout of the Chinese airport system, because to achieve maximum coverage is generally at the cost of a certain increase in the overlap ratio. There is a significant spatial variation in the overlap ratio. The overlap ratio of airports in the eastern region of China is higher than the optimal overlap ratio, but the overlap ratio in the central region of China is about 10% lower than the optimal overlap ratio. However, the airport redundancy increased from 2005 to 2010. One of the possible reasons is that the use of threshold distance in the airport planning improves the overlap ratio but also increases the redundancy ratio.

Key words: civil airport, spatial optimization, coverage rate, threshold distance, MCLP, LSCP