London named a global leader in urban and sustainable mobility

18 May 2018 4 min. read

London has been identified as one of the world’s most mobility-friendly cities, with urban mobility options found to be well above average in the UK capital. The sprawling metropolis was only surpassed by six other international cities, including runaway leader Singapore.

The rise of mega-cities has already been compounded by a combination of population growth and economic prosperity of the urban environment. However, greater urban populations cause a strain on the environmental and agricultural systems while causing logistical problems in energy, transport and mobility. According to new research from Arthur D. Little, the number of mega-cities with a population of over 10 million is just under 30, but by 2030 that number is set to explode to 412, as an increasing centralisation of jobs prompted by increased automation will see millions relocate from rural areas to population centres.

Established in 1886, Arthur D. Little is one of the world’s oldest consultancies, but it remains of the market leaders in terms of specialising in innovation and technology. Recently, the firm has been applying this to work to create opportunities out of challenges faced by rapidly urbanising cities. The consulting firm supports multinational enterprises, entrepreneurs and the public sector in creating strategies which put citizens needs at the centre of smart-city adaptation policy, and has detailed five key challenges which could limit social and economic prosperity: population density, pollution, urban health, security issues and the growing need for connectivity and mobility.

The future of mobility will be urban

Judging by these criteria, in a study of 100 global cities, London was named by the firm as one of the top ten for sustainable mobility in the world. The capital city of the UK was only outperformed by Vienna, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Singapore in terms of the maturity and performance of existing mobility infrastructure, as well as innovation and strategy for the future. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the UK’s transportation systems, including the privately run national railway system, which has come under increasing pressure due to declining standards of service and spiraling costs to the consumer.

This is due to a number of London’s promotion of public transport and its ambitions to increase usage – having previously fallen out of favour for its expensive nature, public transport has risen to 37% against a global and European average of 31% – as well as for encouraging cycling. While London further plans to boost its public transport share to the 40% mark, and cycling from 2% to 6%, the city’s innovative transport programmes were also cited as factors in its success, including a large number of “peer-to-peer” car-sharing “platforms”, making use of digital apps to allow car owners to rent their vehicles out for short periods.

Arthur D. Little Urban Mobility Index 3.0 – City ranking

François-Joseph van Audenhove, a Partner at Arthur D. Little, said, “London always had a strong vision with regard to mobility and there is a strong willingness at city level to improve.”

Overall, London scored an impressive 53.9 points out of a possible 100 in the research – but was still some distance behind runaway leader Singapore on 59.3 points. According to the study, Singapore has put in place adequate infrastructure focused on becoming a breeding ground for innovation in order to help it face increased mobility challenges. These efforts by the city state saw it move from 6th place in 2013 to 1st place this year, and included a strategy which includes the implementation of a number of smart-mobility programs to increase urban mobility including bike sharing initiatives, big-data analytics and a relatively relaxed regulatory environment to new developments in the self-driving vehicle sphere.

Related: Arup to design revamp of London's Euston Station.