Arcadis Study Ranks World’s Most Mobile Cities

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Hong Kong leads the world in sustainable mobility, and New York City’s transit system, particularly with regards to its popularity and reliability, bests that of all other North American cities, according to Arcadis’s first-ever Sustainable Cities Mobility Index.
The report, which takes a comprehensive look at the transit and mobility systems of 100 major global cities, highlights the importance of improved public transportation amidst increasing urbanization, rapid innovation, and climate change. By analyzing 23 individual indicators of mobility, the index studies how cities’ transportation systems perform across three sub-indices: people, the planet, and profit. Arcadis hopes to promote intercity learning on issues of mobility and transit and highlights ways in which cities and their leaders can further sustainable urban living.

Taken as a group, European cities lead the world in sustainable mobility and comprehensive transit options. With seven of its cities ranked among the top ten globally, the region benefits from its relatively early industrialization, well-established infrastructure, efficient metro systems, and a strong and long-standing commitment to green technology. Paris, for example, remains committed to significant public investment in transit—the state-of-the-art Grand Paris Express rapid metro, once completed, is expected to transport two million people per day—while simultaneously promoting alternative and more pedestrian-friendly mobility modes.
Asia’s cities also perform quite well, although many struggle with serious issues of air quality and pollution. Despite unique challenges such as high population density and an aging population, cities such as Tokyo and Seoul, where over half of all trips are made by public transit, rank well in Arcadis’s people sub-index for their comprehensive transit offerings and coverage. Hong Kong, which stole the top spot in overall sustainable mobility, boasts one of the world’s most modern, organized, and efficiently-funded metro systems.

Although North American cities, bogged down by a highly car-centric culture, tend to lag behind their European and Asian counterparts, New York City, ranked 23rd overall, is noted for its wide-reaching, reliable, and accessible subway system. City leaders, however, will soon have to grapple with an aging infrastructure to continue to meet New Yorkers’ transit needs and ensure the city’s future competitiveness.

How can cities and transit leaders prepare for the needs of tomorrow? Be bold, says Arcadis. Cities and transit leaders must aggressively and strategically pursue comprehensive mobility solutions that embrace innovation and demographic change in order to guarantee future competitiveness, sustainability, and quality of life.