Prague ranks fifth in sustainable mobility

A new survey looked at public transportation as well as other factors

Prague was ranked the fifth-best city for sustainable mobility. Experts assessed sustainable urban mobility in 100 cities worldwide. Hong Kong came in at the top of the list, followed by Zurich, Paris, and Seoul, according to The Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017 published by consultancy Arcadis.

The survey looked in part at public transportation, but the results are not strictly a ranking of cities with the best public transportation.

New York, often praised for its extensive subway system, came in at 23 and London with it famous Tube metro was number seven.

The index used 23 indicators reflecting components of urban mobility from infrastructure spending commitment to the affordability of public transport. These were grouped into three categories: people, planet, and profit. The overall index score gives a picture of the current state of a city’s urban mobility environment.

“By region, European cities most consistently rank the highest, occupying seven of the top 10 spots. Zurich, Paris, and Prague are the highest placed European cities, ranking second, third and [fifth] respectively, benefiting from strong scores in the planet and profit subindices due to established infrastructure, efficient metro systems and commitment to green technology,” the report stated.

Mobility will be a key factor in the future, according to the report. “As rapid urbanization, aging infrastructure, population growth, and climate change continue to challenge our world’s cities, those that choose to make bold moves in advancing and diversifying their urban transport systems will gain a competitive edge — we see that investing in improved and sustainable mobility will give cities enhanced productivity, attractiveness and overall quality of 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,” the report added.

The people category rates quality of life. It reflects the implications of a mobility system for those using it. The sub-index combines key statistics including transport coverage, reliability, hours of operation and, ultimately, the popularity of the system.

The planet category ranks cities on green factors. It assesses environmental measures, including current levels of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, efforts to lower transport emissions including incentives for low-emission vehicles, bicycle infrastructure, and electric vehicle incentives as well as efforts to lower levels of road congestion and increase green space covering the city.

The profit category ranks economic health. It looks at the economic aspects of a city’s mobility system for those living and working in a city, such as average commuting time. Time spent commuting often means lost economic productivity.

“Cities such as Paris, Prague, and Stockholm are popular … in terms of annual ridership on public transport. Due to well-run public transport systems and investment in alternative commuting methods, many European cities benefit from high scores in the average commuting time indicator,” the report stated.

Prague was 13th in people, 23rd in planet and second in profit.

Prague has three metro lines covering 65.2 kilometers, serving more than 1.6 million passengers daily. It also has 142.4 kilometers of tram tracks serving almost 900,000 people per day, as well as an extensive bus network. The city has recently been exploring increased use of electric buses and trolleybuses. A fourth metro line is being built.

Efforts to reduce car traffic in the city center such as parking zones and park and ride lots have been underway for several years.

The report does not offer any solutions that would suit all cities. “There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for sustainable mobility in cities. As the index demonstrates, mobility challenges differ from city to city and vary according to geographical, ecological, economic and political factors,” the report states.

The report used by research produced by the London-based Center for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), an independent economics and business research consultancy established in 1992.

Arcadis is design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets. It works with its clients to deliver sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. It employs 27,000 people in over 70 countries and generates €3.3 billion in revenues.

It supports UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.

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