The role of transport in the process of economic development and integration remains an area of controversy. Policy makers, faced with the claim that the cost of high-speed rail (HSR) makes it an expensive way of achieving the supposed benefits, seek to identify wider economic impacts through productivity gains as a justification. This paper explores the development of HSR as an instrument for promoting economic integration both through enhancing competitiveness and achieving greater economic cohesion in China and the European Union. The paper examines changes in accessibility and provides evidence on changes in specialisation for both main cities and their hinterlands. The evidence confirms that impacts differ widely and that the process of convergence and divergence differs at different stages of economic development.
Scopus Subject Areas