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156 cities have one but which is the world's busiest metro network?

Posted by SmartRail World Staff on Nov 9, 2015

156 cities have a metro network, which is the busiest?The growth of urban metro networks continues with over 160 million passengers now using them every day, a 7.9% increase compared with 2012, representing 11% of public transport journeys worldwide. A total of 156 cities around the world now have a metro system in operation. Nearly two thirds of these networks are located in Asia and Europe (54 and 46 respectively). There are 18 systems in Latin America, 16 in North America, 16 in Eurasia and 7 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. But which metros make the list of the top ten busiest according to a new report from UITP, the International Association of Public Transport?

156 cities have a metro network, which is the busiest? (SmartRail World / UITP)The busiest metro network in the world is Tokyo, with close to 3.6 billion passenger journeys per year, and a 10% increase compared with 2012. Chinese metro systems, have experienced even more significant passenger growth, with Beijing (+39%) and Shanghai (+25%) rising to 2nd and 3rd busiest networks. Taken together, metro systems in Asia carry over 80 million passengers per day, nearly half the world total.

Outside Asia, Moscow Metro remains the busiest network, with over 2.4 billion passengers per year. In North America, New York City has the highest ridership (1.8 bn). Mexico City is the busiest network in Latin America (1.6 bn, world’s 8th). Paris metro has the highest ri-dership in Europe, with over 1.5 bn passengers per year. London (1.3 bn), São Paulo (1.3 bn) and Cairo (1.1 bn) complete the list of metro networks carrying over 1 billion passengers per year. Together, the top 13 networks carry 54% of the world’s metro passengers.

156 cities have a metro network, which is the busiest? (SmartRail World / UITP)

Asian cities are also on top when it comes to the world’s longest metro networks, with the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing boasting 548km and 527km of lines respectively, while London rounds out the top three with 436km. In 2014 alone, more than 500km of new lines were added in cities around the world.

The UITP report, World Metro Figures, is a comprehensive study on the current state of the world’s metro networks and highlights potential future developments. The report also reveals that nearly a quarter of the world’s metro systems have at least one fully automated metro line. There are 732km of automated metro lines in 35 cities around the world, with Dubai (80km), Vancouver (68km) and Singapore (65km) at the forefront in terms of infrastructure length.

156 cities have a metro network, which is the busiest? (SmartRail World / UITP)

In the 40 years since the first fully automated metro line, the growth in automation has accelerated exponentially with every decade: current forecasts estimate the total to exceed 2,200km by 2025, with the MENA region and Asia spearheading this growth. 

“Cities have always been at the core of growth and development and will continue to be the main engine of economic activity, entrepreneurship and creativity,” said UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch. “To fully reach this potential, we need to make sure people move seamlessly and can both access and contribute to the wellbeing of their cities. Metros play an instrumental role in helping cities to achieve their potential in today’s fast-changing world."

 All three graphs courtesy of UITP. To read the excellent report in full visit the UITP website here.


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Topics: Passenger Information Systems

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