London is Europe's top capital city for urban mobility

20 October 2020 3 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 narrowly surpassed by global 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, centralised urban populations cause a strain on the environmental and agricultural systems while causing logistical problems in energy, transport and mobility.

In order to find out which cities around the world are best meeting these challenges, Oliver Wyman has collaborated with The Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley to examine cities across 56 metrics, including regulation, infrastructure, social impact, and the ability to adapt future technologies. The resulting index of 50 international locales has found that while Singapore remains the world’s most mobility friendly city, European cities are broadly outperforming their Asian and American rivals. Six cities in the top 10 alone were from Europe, while three hailed from Asia, and one from the US.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index: City Rankings

Singapore remains top of the pile thanks to its focus on forward looking traffic management, which includes road user charges with adaptive pricing, the first automated rail system as well as roadways that accommodate self-driving vehicles. However, the chasing pack are rapidly gaining ground – with the UK capital of London breathing down Singapore’s neck, obtaining a score of just 0.1 less in Oliver Wyman’s assessment.

London ranked third in last year’s index, however, with six major airports it leads in terms of international connectivity. At the same time, the city’s plethora of leading universities has allowed for innovation to flourish, and helping it earn top marks for resilience, such as making disaster-risk informed developments and the ability to mitigate the impact of crises and resume services promptly.

Francois Austin, Global Mobility Lead, Oliver Wyman Forum and Global Head of Energy, Oliver Wyman, explained, “London is now the second city in our ranking thanks to world leading mobility systems and services. It benefits from both legacy infrastructure, such as airport connectivity, as well as next-generation innovation, such as universities spearheading research in mobility. The real test for London’s resilience over the next year, however, will of course be the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shifts in the way people travel, live and work.”

Looking ahead, if London is to take top spot, as well as boost its capacity to adapt to crises further, it will need to tackle a number of systemic problems in the coming year. These include its poor air quality, the need to develop multimodal networks, and enabling a better regulatory environment for new modes of mobility such as ride sharing.

In addition to London, this year’s ranking shows a marked increase across European cities, with six of the top ten cities being located in Europe – Stockholm, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Berlin and Paris. This is a change from the previous index where most of the leaders where in Asia.