Sustainable mobility: Asian and European Cities lead the way
30 October 2017 | Adaptation
Boosted by its innovative and well-connected metro network and a high share of trips taken by public transport, Hong Kong manages to achieve many of the aims of an effective urban transport system - enabling comprehensive mobility, creating economic opportunity and enriching the lives of citizens, business and tourists alike.
Cities benefiting from 'money, mass or maturity', namely high wealth, significant global cities, do not necessarily lead the ranking in sustainable urban mobility. Although these factors can help, we do see wealthy, large and/or older cities not automatically punching their ticket to sustainable urban mobility.
Zurich, Paris and Prague are the highest placed European cities, ranking second, third and fourth respectively, with strong scores in the Planet and Profit sub-indices - due to established infrastructure, efficient metro systems and commitment to green technology.
Asian cities also rank highly, taking three of the top ten spots. Modern metro systems, large airports and low usage of private vehicles help boost the rankings of developed Asian cities such as Seoul and Singapore. Other Asian cities would score higher were it not for damaging levels of urban pollution and emissions.
North American cities are spread throughout the overall Index; while citizens of some American cities enjoy well-funded and comprehensive transport systems, many cities in the U.S. and Canada are undermined by a reliance on private vehicles and underdeveloped public transport options.
Overall the top ten cities in the 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index are:
1. Hong Kong
North America: No city in the U.S. or Canada makes it into the top twenty of the overall Index. New York City is the region's best performing city, sitting in 23rd place overall and second in the People sub-index with an expansive and heavily used metro system operating around the clock. The lowest ranked North American city, Indianapolis, is weighed down by a high share of journeys made by private car, a common practice in many American cities.
Latin America: Brazil's most populous city, São Paulo, is the only Latin American city in the Index to feature in the overall top 50. Yet, the capital cities of Lima and Mexico City are two of the highest performing globally when it comes to the share of trips taken by public transport.
Asia: It is a tale of two halves in Asia. Hong Kong leads the Index and Seoul and Singapore rank fourth and eighth respectively; while of the top ten in the People sub-index, half are within Asia. Meanwhile, other cities in the region, such as Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur, are some of the world's least sustainable for mobility.
Australia: The share of total trips taken by public transport, the utilization of the systems, and the share of commuters cycling or walking to work is low across Australia's cities: no city in the country appears in the top 50 on any of these fronts. Brisbane is the country's only city to make it into the top half of the overall Index, while Perth lands last in the region's Planet ranking.
Africa: The African cities in the Index all sit in the bottom 50. Cape Town is the continent's best performing city, despite having some of the highest numbers of fatalities globally, and makes it into the top half of the Profit ranking. Cairo sits in the bottom ten cities globally, performing particularly poorly on the Planet ranking.
Europe: The top ten cities in the Planet sub-index are all European, with German cities making up the top three places. Developed cities in Europe, with the privilege of having industrialized early, have helped progress the low-emissions agenda with excellent bicycle infrastructure, commitment to green technology and electric vehicle uptake. European cities also dominate the Profit sub-index, making up seven of the top ten places. Many of these cities have invested generously in transport infrastructure and have widely-utilized public transport systems helping to cut commuting times.
In light of the UK's vote to leave the European Union, other cities in Europe can compete with London on sustainable transport as the UK's capital sits in the bottom three cities for both commuting times and congestion and delays, Milan and Dublin offer some of the world's best rider connectivity, while Paris has one of the best-utilized transport systems globally. Most cities in Europe also beat London when it comes to active commuting, with Amsterdam and Stockholm leading the way.