According to recent research by Oliver Wyman Forum & Berkeley, Europe is still the world leader in sustainable mobility, with eight of the top ten positions in the Sustainable Mobility sub-index being held by European cities, particularly those in Scandinavia. The sustainable mobility index evaluates how well cities are converting to more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.
Oslo, dubbed the global capital for electric vehicles, has reclaimed the top spot in the index. The city has a wide network of charging stations and offers electric vehicle owners various benefits, including reduced toll prices and priority access to specific roads. Due to the large number of electric vehicle owners in Oslo, the city government has started to withdraw various incentives, such as free parking, as they are no longer necessary.
Oslo’s success in sustainable mobility is attributed not only to its strong reputation with electric vehicles but also to two other significant factors: socially beneficial policies, such as car-free zones that reduce light pollution and traffic, and a reliable, reasonably priced public transit system.
Cities with robust and sustainable economies will be better equipped to withstand future disruptions if they address future transportation concerns, particularly in public transit. According to some estimates, every $1 billion invested in public transportation may generate 50,000 new jobs and $5 in returns for every $1 invested. Urban mobility may become less of a government priority, however, due to inflation, social unrest, climate change, and other upheavals. Therefore, increasing private sector support is crucial to cover the cost of innovative solutions and improve the standard of living across all communities.
The report also discusses how some businesses in New York are helping low-income neighborhoods afford e-bikes and how efforts to expand the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging are usually made by automakers and other private businesses. Public-private partnerships can speed up their development, though. For example, Zurich collaborated with a manufacturing company to commission 45 electric bus charging stations that will be deployed this year.
The report also notes that cities that suffered during the pandemic failed to benefit from its interruption or even allowed the pandemic to lead to additional regressions, such as reduced public transit service and decreased road safety. Due to its difficulties achieving a balance between COVID safety and connection, Singapore slipped one point from the previous year’s index. Meanwhile, investments have been made in micromobility networks in Dublin and Johannesburg, traffic fatalities have decreased in Mumbai as a result of road safety initiatives, Dubai plans to have an emissions-free public transportation system by 2050, and Mexico City is still providing non-financial incentives for electric vehicle ownership, such as tax exemptions from “no-car days.”
Every city is at a crossroads due to the numerous disturbances we face, such as inflation and climate change. The focus now needs to turn to improving public transit, even though certain cities may be better suited to adapt than others due to current technological capabilities and ongoing investment in sustainable mobility. As we embark on a new chapter in sustainable mobility, we need to apply the spirit of readiness to every community.
Source: Urban Mobility Readiness Index 2022 | Oliver Wyman Forum & Berkeley