Urban Transformation

Top 10 cities with the best public transport

People riding on a bus

Good public transport can have a hugely positive impact on citizens. Image: Unsplash/Mediocre Studio

Anna Fleck
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • A new study has assessed the world's cities for public transport provision.
  • The rankings are determined by infrastructure, social impact, market attractiveness, system efficiency and network innovation.
  • Hong Kong holds the top spot in the Urban Mobility Readiness Index 2022 as the world's best city for public transport.

Hong Kong has been named the world’s top city for public transit, according to a new study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman and the University of California, Berkeley. The city’s transport network is praised for not only being affordable, but also for having a high station density and good railway infrastructure. Yet it still has room for improvement, according to the researchers, who suggest it could use a smartphone app to help travelers better navigate the city.

As our chart shows, most of the world's top-rated public transportation networks are in Europe. Zurich comes in second place, followed by Stockholm (3rd), Helsinki (5th), Oslo (6th), Paris (8th), Berlin (9th) and London (10th). At the opposite end of the spectrum comes Riyadh (57th), Nairobi (59th) and Jeddah (60th).

The strength of a city’s public transport system majorly impacts city dwellers’ lifestyles. As the report explains: “an efficiently run system can not only encourage workers and tourists to travel through cities but can provide more equal opportunity access to additional mobility modes, jobs, shopping centers, and more.”

The pandemic has driven a major shift towards more people working from home and no longer commuting so frequently. The writers of the report warn that if transit systems are unable to gain back some of those riders, then the communities could be at risk of a loss of jobs to operate it, which could lead to more private travel, increased road congestion and road fatalities, as well as worsening noise, light and air pollution.

The study analyzed public transportation systems in 60 major cities around the world, ranking them based on their infrastructure, social impact, market attractiveness, system efficiency and network innovation. The Public Transit sub-index contributes to the study’s overall Urban Mobility Readiness Index 2022. According to the wider study, a total of nine U.S. cities have made it onto the Urban Mobility Readiness list of 60. These include San Francisco (1st), New York (11th), Chicago (12th), Boston (13th) Washington D.C. (14th), Los Angeles (17th), Atlanta (23rd), Houston (27th), and Dallas (28th).

A map of the world showing which cities have the best public transport.
Many of the best cities for public transport are in Europe. Image: Statista
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