Where does the UK Rank in the global Urban Mobility Readiness Index?
The global pandemic changed everything about our day-to-day lives; while the idea of repeating enforced isolation may sound like a nightmare to many of us, the lockdown gave heavenly respite to the environment. Animals were spotted in areas usually deserted of wildlife, skies were clear blue and nature reclaimed the land. Due to the absence of air and road traffic, carbon dioxide emissions fell by more than 6% throughout the middle of 2020. As the global economy gradually recovers, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions bite back with a vengeance to levels higher than before the pandemic began. As city streets become more congested with cars, scooters, bikes and double-parked delivery vans hauling out online purchases, many public transit systems across the world have been left behind.
In response to this, the University of California, Berkeley and the Oliver Wyman Forum compiled the 2021 Urban Mobility Readiness Index , providing new initiatives and encouraging people to make sustainable transport choices. The Index ranks 60 major cities around the world on 57 key performance factors across five fundamental dimensions. Assessing cities’ readiness to deal with the concerns of urban mobility, factors include infrastructure, social effect, market attractiveness, system efficiency, and innovation. Additionally, a ‘Sustainability’ sub-index analyses a subset of 16 KPIs to determine how cities invest in their own sustainable urban mobility.
At the top of the list is Stockholm. Ranked first overall largely due to its significant reliance on public transportation and a sizeable market share of electric vehicles. With factors such as public transport expansion, road safety, service reliability and support of emerging technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles (EVs), nations around the globe could learn a lot from Sweden’s forward-thinking approach. In the UK, London ranks seventh overall, with the UK capital scoring particularly high on the Index in terms of infrastructure and innovation. UK Cities are active in their commitment to successfully steer away from our traditional reliance on cars to more sustainable modes of transport, we must be willing to experiment with new ideas.
In Spring 2021, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) executed an initiative providing motorists with up to £3,000 in mobility credits in return for surrendering their car. From the £22 million government grant allocated to tackling pollution with on-demand buses, cycle hire, and driverless cars, £1 million has been made available directly to the public in the form of Mobility Credits. These credits are redeemable against public transport, taxis, bike share or a car-sharing service. Credits – loaded on a transport service prepaid travel card – can be used within a two year period. As well as paying for journeys, commuters can also purchase bicycles and accessories.
That’s an impressive and promising step in the right direction, but could be met with challenges where it is simply impractical to surrender your household car. If the infrastructure is in-place, the scheme has the scope to roll out nationwide. The Urban Mobility Readiness Index provides a guide to support cities across the globe as they emerge from the pandemic: politicians must choose whether to become leaders in sustainability or risk being left behind in the fight against climate change.