In connection with the fact that a greater number of population centers on Earth is rural and the entire territory outlying the city is referred to the rural area, the study of rural settlement has always been in the swim of geographical research. S.A. Kovalev, defining the rural settlement, characterized it by the features of distribution and combination of rural settlements in a certain area.
The rural peopling and rural-type settlements change with the course of time both quantitatively and qualitatively. The transformations occurring with them depend on many factors (natural, socioeconomic, geopolitical, etc.), having studied which one can find out the principles of the rural area sustainability. In our work we shall consider the influence of the transport factor on the modern structure of rural peopling of the Jewish Autonomous Region area (JAR), as the formation of a network of settlements and that of transport are always interdependent and interconditioned. The processes of rural peopling transformation of the Region are studied insufficiently, so, our work will help expanding the knowledge in this sphere.
The JAR area is situated in the south-east of Russia, in the middle part of the Amur-river, on the boundary with China. The modern administrative-territorial division of the autonomy is represented by 35 municipal units, which include 5 municipal areas, 13 urban settlements (inclusive of 2 cities), 17 rural settlements (consisting of 98 rural communities).
From the moment of developing and peopling the JAR territory (middle of XIX century) the transport routes had been playing a significant role in the formation of human settlement network, as the transport was a connecting link between the earlier developed territories of the European part of Russia and newly peopled Far Eastern lands. During the autonomy development the Amur with its tributaries was a natural transport corridor and the way out to the Pacific Ocean at the same time. It is the Amur, which appeared to be the axis for the development and peopling the Region´s area. The population centers were located along the Amur in hilled flood-free plains in the places most favourable for life and farming.
The following equally important route of communication for the JAR was the royal tract (so called "Kolesukha"), which crossed the whole territory of the JAR. In connection with the complexity of using "Kolesukha" (only in the cold season) it was necessary to make new means of communication, more convenient and less dependent on natural environment. A railway, the construction of which was started as early as in 1881, conformed to these conditions. The construction of Transsib in the territory of the Region (1905-1916) defined a new axis of peopling. The settlements emerged at that time generally specialized in construction and servicing the railway, mining and processing natural resources and timber for the construction. By the 30-s of XX century the construction of several more roads, both railway - leading to Urgal and Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and automobile - village Leninskoye, started in the JAR. Along them the rural settlements, the main economic activity of which was to serve the transport routes and produce agricultural commodities for own requirements, situated. In the following years and up to the crisis of the 90-s the regional transportation network improvement took place.
Nowadays, the directions of population distribution in the JAR area are as follows: along the railroad, the Bira-river and highways - Birobidzhan - Leninskoye, Birobidzhan - Amurzet. The distribution of rural communities is practically linear, as between the transportation network the rural settlements is weakly-developed. Despite the fact that within the bounds of the Far Eastern economic area the JAR has a relatively developed transport infrastructure the roads of the Region are disposed extremely non-uniformly. There are three directions of highways in the Region: Chita - Khabarovsk (along Transsib), Birobidzhan - Amurzet - Chinese boundary (along the Amur-river), Birobidzhan - Leninskoye - Chinese boundary . The population centers are generally located along the given traffic arteries. Thereat, the urban-type settlements are concentrated along the railroad, and the rural-type ones - along the rivers and roads of local notification. The hard-to-reach settlements and the ones distanced from the main transport routes are supplied with the social assets insufficiently, and some of them are on the verge of extinction.
So, the influence of the transport factor on the rural peopling of the JAR is evident: the rural-type settlements´ development occurs along the main traffic arteries disposed linearly.
The work was submitted to international scientific conference «Economic Science. Actual problems of basic research», Egypt (Sharm el-Sheikh), February 20-27, 2008. Came to the editorial office оn 21.01.2009.