In a world of rapid urbanisation, ageing infrastructure, population growth and climate change, cities and city leaders face enormous pressure to meet today’s mobility challenges. However investing in improved and sustainable transport will give cities enhanced productivity, attractiveness and overall quality of life.
Where do 100 of the world’s leading cities rank for the sustainability of their urban mobility networks?
And where does the UK stand?
The Index explores mobility through the three pillars of sustainability—social (People), environmental (Planet) and economic (Profit) to develop an indicative ranking of the world’s leading cities.
Measures social and human implications of mobility systems including quality of life.
Captures environmental impacts like energy, pollution and emissions.
Assesses the efficiency and reliability of a mobility system to facilitate economic growth.
UK and Irish cities fare relatively well for the sustainability of their transport networks, with almost all featuring in the top half of the index. Yet there is still room for improvement, particularly in ensuring that regions outside of the capital are as competitive as London. It is not simply a question of favouring one city over another: we need investment in all our major cities to ensure infrastructure works for everyone. With national and regional economies depending on interconnectivity, it is good news that central government, devolved administrations and city leaders are all embarking on ambitious plans to upgrade mobility networks and redress decades of underinvestment.
|1. London (7th)||5. Bristol (43rd)
|2. Edinburgh (17th)||6. Dublin (44th)
|3. Manchester (35th)||7. Leeds (59th)|
|4. Birmingham (38th)
A city’s transport network needs to function effectively for the people it serves. This can have a significant impact on quality of life. Fortunately, the UK and Ireland work relatively well. In particular, a sign of a well-functioning network is the share of trips taken by public transport. The UK scores highly here. A journey is also easier when a greater proportion can be taken by public transport: for example when there is a bus stop near home and another near work. In this respect, Edinburgh and Manchester perform the best in Europe for accessibility, with a high density of bus and metro stops.
Effective and efficient transport must not come at too great a cost to the natural environment. Fortunately, in the UK and Ireland all cities feature in the top half of the index. Air pollution levels are relatively low in comparison with other similar sized cities around the world and electric vehicle incentives are a key consideration. One area of note, however, is the issue of congestion. Edinburgh leads the way in Europe when it comes to lack of delays, yet London – in spite of the high density of available transport options – has one of the highest levels of congestion in Europe.
Mobility is a key lever in supporting the wider economy, improving productivity and encouraging prosperity. However, it is a mixed picture in the UK and Ireland. Edinburgh-dwellers and Bristolians have amongst the lowest commuting times, while those in London have amongst the longest, which has a bearing on economic productivity. Along with Dublin, London’s transport also ranks amongst the least affordable. However, when it comes to funding, it is Edinburgh, Birmingham and London that lead Europe as cities which can fund their transport needs through revenues. This is a sign of an economically sustainable system.
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