Mobility Key to Urban Success Says Report

Asia is driving the world in the development of greater urban mobility according to new research from Oliver Wyman.

The subsidiary of broker Marsh issued its inaugural Urban Mobility Readiness Index: How Cities Rank on Mobility Ecosystem Development. The index ranks 30 cities on how prepared they are to incorporate the latest mobility technologies and what they are doing to reshape urban mobility. The top five cities are Singapore, Amsterdam, London, Shanghai, and New York.

Oliver Wyman Forum selected an initial set of 30 global cities for in-depth analysis across five categories: social impact, livability, system efficiency, innovation, and market attractiveness. Singapore (pic) topped the global list with five of the top 10 cities are in Asia with, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul joining Singapore.

“Cities destined to become tomorrow’s mobility leaders are forward-thinking and user-centric,” said Guillaume Thibault, an Oliver Wyman partner and one of the creators of the new index. “They take a data-driven approach and work with the private sector to find solutions.” The research was conducted with The Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

The index analysed existing public and private mobility networks; current regulation, policy, and infrastructure; a city’s livability; and its capacity to absorb future technologies. While the index attempts to rank the outlooks for various cities, the research also provides best practices and concrete strategies that will allow cities to upgrade their offerings with a goal of transforming urban mobility from a challenge into a competitive economic advantage.

However it found there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to urban mobility because no two cities are starting from the same point. For example, it added cities around the world operate at vastly different stages of development when it comes to mobility. In Los Angeles, 89 percent of travel involves a car, while in Hong Kong only seven percent does. In Amsterdam, 60 percent of people get around by cycling or walking; in Mexico City, 70 percent take mass transit.

“Key to success for cities is a focus on the development of mobility ecosystems that provide a holistic framework to incorporate advanced technologies and create seamless, multimodal networks,” the firm added. “Another pivotal element for cities is working closely with academic and private sector mobility research efforts and testing the latest technologies.”

“While most of the top 10 represent sprawling metropolitan areas, Amsterdam, the index runner-up, stands in stark contrast, because of its relative compact size and population,” stated the research report. “Like many other top-scoring cities, it is known for its robust infrastructure, extensive public transportation system, and efforts to downplay the automobile as a transport mode. In recent years, it has adopted policies to foster electric and autonomous vehicles, increase the number of charging stations, and encourage alternate modes of transportation, particularly bicycles.”

Seventeen of the cities scored above average: six are in Europe, six in Asia Pacific, four in the US and Canada, and one in the Middle East.

“Municipal governments see the need to become increasingly proactive and agile in the evolving mobility landscape. Cities see the benefits of re-focusing on the basics of public transportation and infrastructure development in order to lead in the next generation of mobility,” said Professor Alexandre Bayen, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “Cities who embrace technology and have proactive regulation will become leaders in the mobility revolution.”

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