Transport Study Reveals World Cities Leading the Way in Key Components for Creating a ‘Vital’ City

May 10, 2016, 08:00 ET from Future Spaces Foundation

LONDON, May 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

  • New Vital Cities: Transport Systems Scorecard reveals ratings for 12 international cities on transport systems
  • Copenhagen hailed as most "vital" city as a result of strong sustainability, cycling and mobility credentials
  • Sophisticated transit network boosts score for New York, which boasts the densest and one of the most affordable networks
  • High car use in Houston leads to largest CO2 emissions per capita of any city in the rankings

The Future Spaces Foundation today launches its Vital Cities: Transport Systems Scorecard, an interactive data hub which awards connectivity ratings to twelve cities across the world.

The research looks at key factors that make cities thrive - for example breathability, bike and foot networks, use of data and apps - ranking each city based on their performance across more than 30 individual measures. Based on a mix of qualitative assessments, such as the strength of electric vehicle policies, and hard data, such as the density of transit networks, the scorecard aggregates each individual score to award an overall A-F grade.

Ken Shuttleworth, Chairman of the Future Spaces Foundation said: "We believe that for cities to thrive, well-networked, efficient, safe and sustainable transport networks are paramount. These equip them to meet the needs of rising and fast-changing populations, limit their environmental impact, and enhance the ability of local residents and enterprises to interact, exchange and innovate. Put simply, the chances of a city's economic and social success are vastly improved when its connections - pedestrian, bike, vehicle and public transport - are simple, comfortable, safe, and affordable."

The cities were grouped into four categories - Global Cities (London, New York, Hong Kong), Mega Cities (Beijing, Mumbai, Sao Paulo), Green Cities (Copenhagen, Singapore, Vancouver) and Car Cities (Dubai, Houston, Kuala Lumpur).

Whilst no city scored a perfect A+ overall, Copenhagen - with its first-class record for sustainability, safety and mobility - topped the scorecard with an impressive B+ score. Long-term investment and an ability to adapt to the ever-growing consumer demand for real-time information with innovative data policies helped Global Cities to gain pace with Copenhagen. In the meantime, Car Cities lagged behind due to their poor efforts to curb car use and promote vehicle-sharing, walking and cycling, all receiving a D or D- grade overall.

In the US, results from the scorecard reinforced Houston's position as a city dominated by the car. Although the city boasts 2,000km of recreational cycle lanes, when it comes to the daily commute the vast majority of residents return to their cars, with 94% driving to work. This high car usage contributes to CO2 emissions from transport of more than three tonnes per capita, compared to just over one tonne in New York and Singapore, and less than a tonne in Hong Kong, London and Copenhagen.

Public transport was another major battleground in which New York scored well. Despite an ageing network leading to some accessibility challenges, the city boasts the densest network and also one of the most affordable, with residents spending just 3% of their of earnings on public transport, compared to 9% in London.

As Mega Cities continue to boom, propelled by industrialisation and mass migration from rural areas, low incomes and rapidly rising populations proved to be particular challenges to improving networks and ensuring that basic infrastructure meets demands in these cities. However, innovative new uses of data and apps to improve connectivity in a cost-effective way is helping these cities to gain pace with global competitors.

Ken Shuttleworth, added; "Of course, as our research shows, no city is perfect when it comes to connectivity. The Vital Cities Scorecard research has identified some of the key areas, such as good public transport provision, accessibility, affordability and safety which are essential for a city to be regarded as truly connected. We hope that cities across the world will be able to benefit from the insights we've developed, learning from one another to create truly connected and vital cities."

Further information is available here.

About the Future Spaces Foundation 

The Future Spaces Foundation was established in 2013 by Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make Architects, to undertake new thinking to inform the future of the spaces we live in.

The Foundation's research explores the socio-economic, demographic and technological factors that affect the way we live and work and the impact they have on the spaces where we live. Previous research has looked at future solutions for the UK's high streets, and argued for the densification of existing urban centres over the building of new Garden Cities.

Ultimately, the Foundation hopes to create an environment where smart design enables strong communities and allows people to live and work in first class spaces.  | Twitter: @futurespaces


Contact: Liz Glassford, Make Architects: +44(0)20-7636-5151


SOURCE Future Spaces Foundation