Lonely Planet Writer

These cities have the best public transportation in the world

A new study has revealed the best cities around the world for transportation services, naming Hong Kong as number one following an assessment of a wide range of varying factors that include the environmental impact of public services, the social and human implications of transportation and the reliability of facilities for economic growth in the future.

Hong Kong took the number one spot.
Hong Kong took the number one spot in the index. Image by Mongkol Chuewong

Correlated by design and consultancy firm, Arcadis, as part of their sustainable cities mobility index 2017, the project saw 23 individual indicators being broken up into three different categories, people, planet and profit. Each city received a score on each of the pillars of sustainability, with the city’s overall score being evaluated against the data. The wide range of different factors that were examined included wheelchair access on buses and at metro stations in each of the cities, Wi-Fi on public transport, access to transport services, hours of metro accessibility, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion and delays, efforts to lower emissions, electric vehicle incentives, commuting travel time and affordability of public transport.

Paris Metro during the day
European cities ranked most consistently, taking up seven of the top ten spots. Image by ©lembi/Shutterstock

By region, European cities ranked most consistently, taking up seven of the top ten spots, with Zurich, Paris and Prague being the highest-placed European cities, ranking second, third and fourth respectively. Hong Kong took the top spot thanks to its innovative and well-connected metro network and a high share of trips taken by public transport. Other Asian cities ranked highly also, taking three of the top ten spots.

The top ten best cities around the world for transportation were determined as follows:

1. Hong Kong
2. Zurich
3. Paris
4. Seoul
5. Prague
6. Vienna
7. London
8. Singapore
9. Stockholm
10. Frankfurt

A woman listening to music on the London Tube
The project saw 23 individual indicators being broken up into three different categories, people, planet and profit. Image by Paul Bradbury

North American cities were spread throughout the index, with the lowest-ranked city being Indianapolis due to a high share of journeys made by private cars. The highest-ranked was New York City, which placed 23rd overall and second in the people sub-index, with an expensive and heavily-used metro system operating around the clock. German cities took the top three spots on the planet sub-index, with Frankfurt taking the number one spot thanks to the city’s many green spaces, low air pollution levels and for encouraging lower emissions vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases.