Top 10 sustainable cities for transport
Amidst the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, population growth and aging infrastructure, transport systems remain the beating heart of the modern metropolis. Arcadis’ 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index has created a global index for the most pioneering cities for urban mobility, decided across 23 individual indicators (under the sub-sections of ‘People’, ‘Planet’ and ‘Profit’). But which city sits top?
10 | Frankfurt
Due to its trade route-friendly setting, Frankfurt is home to numerous major businesses in Europe, with 360,000 people heading there for work. It tops the chart for the ‘Planet’ sub-index, owing to its low air pollution, green spaces and promotion of low emission vehicles, electric cars and cycling. Although motorised private transport still represents 80% of journeys, road traffic will fall due to a limit on parking spaces, a preference for tenants over commuters and a ‘Bike + Ride’ scheme.
9 | Stockholm
Renowned for its public transport – with more than 328mn riders every year – Stockholm ranked 11th for the metrics pertaining to the human impact of mobility systems. But it was within the ‘Planet’ sub-category that saw the Swedish capital prosper, placing fourth. With a plan to go fossil-fuel free by 2040, many cars and taxis regularly use biofuel made from sewage.
8 | Singapore
Braced for its population to swell to 6mn by 2030, the city-state’s government has pledged vast investment to improve mobility and connectivity. Among the plans are two new underground lines, a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, plus a new airport terminal and runway. A mighty 66% of journeys are already via public transport, yet the government seeks 75% by 2030.
7 | London
Boasting the world’s first underground railway network, under-river tunnel, international airport and orbital ring road, London has a track record for innovation. Today, 43% of journeys are completed using public transport, while developments such as HS2, Crossrail and the proposed Crossrail 2, seek to further increase capacity and connectivity for the global business hub.
6 | Vienna
Though it ranks sixth for its environmental factors, and ninth for its efficiency to grow and support businesses using its mobility system, Vienna will become the global headquarters for sustainable cities in March 2018, hosting the Urban Future conference. Thereafter, its 2020 tourism strategy seeks to make its 20 sq km of green spaces accessible within three minutes’ walk from anywhere in the city.
5 | Prague
With solid scores for its commuting travel time, economic opportunity, affordability of public transport and utilisation of the transport system, Prague placed second in the ‘Profit’ category. Yet the medieval-looking city is also embracing green technology. Initiatives include mass-cycle rides, electric car hire and packaging-free ‘zero waste’ stores.
4 | Seoul
More than half of total trips taken in Seoul are made by public transport. Like its Asian neighbours Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing, it's the sheer reliability, paired with its comprehensive coverage, that sees its citizens shun private vehicles. Of course, the metro system’s TV screens, Wi-Fi and heated seats, likely help matters.
3 | Paris
Among the first cities on Earth to pioneer a bike-sharing scheme, and convert a highway for walking and exercise, Paris is famed for its aggressive commitment to make its city pedestrian-friendly. While it has always encouraged public transport, its Grand Paris Express investment, tram line extensions and dedicated bus lanes will be transformative for Parisians.
2 | Zurich
In 2012, Switzerland’s largest city ensured it was future-proofed with its ‘Strategien Zurich 2025’ framework. Additional lines are being added to its Züricher Verkehrsbetriebe network, more train and tram lines are to come, whereas a switch from diesel buses to electrified trolleybuses will help safeguard the environment. Most excitingly, an underground logistics network – Cargo Sous Terrain – will transport goods via tunnels, using automation.
1 | Hong Kong
Beating a bevy of European locations, Hong Kong tops the rankings. Some 12.6mn passenger journeys take place across its transport system daily, and its Mass Transit Railway is long lauded for its efficiency. Add an international airport operating at 99% capacity – with a third runway incoming – and Hong Kong’s world class mobility, plus the socioeconomic prosperity it brings to natives and tourists alike, makes it a worthy winner.