The Tibet autonomous region invested heavily in traffic and transportation projects last year, steering nearly 36.7 billion yuan ($5.36 billion) to such projects and applying more than 16 billion yuan toward fixed-asset investment, according to the region's Traffic and Transportation Department.
Thanks to the heavy investment, Tibet's 662 townships and 4,382 villages have been linked by paved roads. Ninety-five percent of its townships and 78 percent of its villages are now connected by roads, the department said on Monday during the region's annual work conference on traffic and transportation.
The region saw growth of 720 kilometers in its rural network extension, and its total road network extended more than 121,000 km last year.
In 2022, 185 road construction projects were undertaken and 117 unsafe bridges were renovated in the region's rural areas. Passenger bus services in rural areas increased, with 612 townships and 3,705 villages linked with shuttle buses as of December. About 90 percent of its townships and 69 percent of its villages had accesses to shuttle bus services.
The region's traffic and transportation sectors last year saw 3.98 million passengers and a freight volume of around 39 million metric tons.
This year, the region will apply 40 billion yuan to traffic and transportation projects. Total highway distance is expected to reach 124,000 km. At that point, more than 95.5 percent of the region's townships and 82 percent of its villages will be accessible by road.
The upgrade and improvement of traffic and transportation has greatly contributed to the region's overall social and economic development.
Residents of Tashi Choten village in Lhokha, have been operating family inns to generate income in recent years. After the village was accessible by a paved road in 2019, a large number of tourists flocked there every year for sightseeing and observation of traditional Tibetan culture.
Li Yuwei, the leader of Tradruk township, said that more tourists have been coming to the village to observe its Tibetan opera culture and local customs.
"The road has activated the development of opera, homestays and catering in the community," Li said.
"More than 70 households operate family inns, accounting for more than half of the total households in the village, and it's clear that rural roads are a driving engine of rural revitalization."