Winding roads, inaccessible spots and muddy fields have long been the most impressive memories for us traveling in China's remote and rural areas. But that was before the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress, held in Beijing in 2012. If you look at the picture of those places now, you can see a difference and changes could be seen everyday.
Great breakthroughs have been made in transportation reform since the 18th CPC National Congress. The Ministry of Transport says it regards the construction of "Sihao Rural Roads" as an important vehicle for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society.
Transport minister Li Xiaopeng reported that at present, the network of rural roads in the country has reached 3.96 million kilometers. He noted that over 99 percent of townships and 98 percent of established villages were built with asphalt roads and cement roads, and equipped with buses. Poorly constructed roads are a thing of the past. Instead, paved roads and bus services are part of the real lives of 600 million farmers in China.
In 2017, the ministry also achieved remarkable progress in reducing logistics costs by upgrading transport infrastructure, improving transport services, deepening the transport sector's reform and strengthening new growth drivers for transport development.
Remarkable as China's achievements in transportation are, there's still much room for improvements in terms of infrastructure construction, services and governance.
Li told the press that even though China is a major transport country, it is only big, not strong. There's still a long way to go before becoming a powerful transport country. The infrastructure is not good enough, our services cannot fully meet the needs of the people, our logistics are not yet developed, and the costs in logistics are still relatively high.
Making China a stronger country in terms of transportation is a new goal for the government. Li said that the authorities will try hard to build a modern transportation system. "We will build this system with open integration, sharing governance, green wisdom, civilization and trustworthiness."
The government plans to achieve the basic goal of becoming a "strong transport country" from 2020 to 2035, and to comprehensively achieve that goal from 2036 on.