“Boldness, audacity and vision likewise are important qualities for urban decision makers to improve quality of life in their cities. A standstill is not a viable option."
European cities have some of the most sustainable transport networks in the world on average, occupying 28 of the top 50 cities across the Americas, Asia and Australia, according to a detailed study on the subject.
Zurich, Paris and Prague came highest of all European participants in the Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017 in second and third and fifth place, with Hong Kong taking the top spot. Despite the top billing, however, the Chinese city was only one of six Asian cities present in the top 25.
New York was the Americas only city that made it into the top quarter of the list, while Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne were the highest placed Australian cities at 50th, 52nd and 54th, respectively.
The sustainability index, which has been compiled by Arcadis in partnership with research firm, Cebr, tracks the overall performance of the mobility systems in 100 cities around the world and is built from 23 indicators that each reflect a component of urban mobility, from infrastructure spending commitment to affordability of public transport.
Among the list’s findings, Arcadis showed that Zurich, Paris and Prague benefited from strong scores owing to established infrastructure, efficient metro systems and a commitment to green technology, while Hong Kong was ranked top in the overall Index thanks to a well-connected metro network that led to a high proportion of residents of the city using public transport to get around.
Arcadis said in the report that those cities choosing to make what it called “bold moves” in the advancement of its urban transport systems will have a competitive edge over others that haven’t, arguing that a more sustainable mobility approach will give cities greater levels of productivity. Arcadis’s Global Cities Director, John J. Batten, said in the index’s foreword that the latest instalment of the Sustainable Cities Index focused on urban mobility in recognition of the crucial role that transport plays in daily life.
“Boldness, audacity and vision likewise are important qualities for urban decision makers to improve quality of life in their cities. A standstill is not a viable option,” said Batten, who added that the most exciting innovations in transport were still to come.
“Take for example the future of automotive transport and the fast-moving trends in connectedness, electrification, sharing and autonomous driving leading to the eventual realisation of the hyperloop, autonomous vehicles and more,” he said.
In addressing the other end of the table, in which just one European city resided (Leeds), Arcadis examined the Middle Eastern cities occupying the bottom four spots. Kuwait, Riyadh, Amman and Jeddah performed so badly, the index said, because of their poor public transport networks, all of which are blighted by the poor environmental records and rising greenhouse gas emissions that prevented them from becomiong more sustainable.
Giving a clear nod to the changing face of modern transport around the world, Batten also pointed towards the efforts being taken by many cities to retrofit our cities and help move residents from the vehicle to diversifying across mass transit, cycling and walking-based lifestyles.
These stories from SmartRail World may also interest you…