Eight key facts from UITP’s big mobility survey

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Halfway to our 2025 deadline to double the global market share of public transport, UITP has analysed mobility trends in 60 metropolitan areas around the world and is set to publish the statistics in an extensive database. By comparing the figures from 2012 with 1995, we’ve also compiled some key takeaways on the changing face of mobility in cities.

Good news versus bad news
The good news is that modal share of public transport is growing. It increased by about 20% on average between 2001 and 2012 in developed cities – a reversal of the previous downturn between 1995 and 2001 - but only in cities that are doing two things: those that are increasing supply (more and bigger tracks, trams, trains…) but also looking after the demand side. This means pushing policies that control urban sprawl and encourage people to move away from private vehicles and use public transport.

The bad news? It’s not universal. Unfortunately, in developing cities, the share of public transport decreased between 1995 and 2012.

Supply is up, everywhere
In developed cities, the total supply of public transport by an average of 2.3% a year between 1995 and 2001 and by 1.2% per year since. In developing cities supply grew by an estimated 3.9% annually from 1995 to 2012.

…and it’s not just a result population increase:
Between 2001 and 2012, cities such as Beijing, Geneva, Madrid, Oslo, and London have increased public transport supply at a higher rate than the population increase.

Journeys are up
The total number of journeys made by public transport in developed cities went up on average 1.5% per year up to 2001 and 1.6% per year afterwards. In developing cities, the corresponding average annual rate of growth in demand was 2.7%.

In cities in developed economies public transport demand per capita grew from an average of 395 journeys per capita in 1995, to 414 in 2001 and it continued to grow afterwards, reaching an average of 419 journeys per inhabitant in 2012.

Urban sprawl is slowing down
In the second half of the 20th century urban planning focused largely on private cars. The result? Urban sprawl with decreasing urban density. Then this trend started to change around the turn of the century. Now urban density in developed economies is increasing again. For instance, urban density increased by 11% in Munich and Oslo between 1995 and 2012.

Cars have not gone out of fashion just yet
The motorisation rate - the ratio of cars to inhabitants - jumped 2.3% from 1995 to 2001 in the rich world, and 0.5% per year since then. In developing cities, the total number of cars nearly quadrupled between 1995 and 2012. Not good news for urban transport infrastructure, but not surprising in cities with a growing middle class.

Less travel by private vehicles
Since 1995 the average distance travelled by private vehicles in developed economies has dropped considerably: from 4,700 kilometres in 1995, to 4,400 in 2001 and 3,800 in 2012.

More public transport frees up precious urban space
More public transport means less urban space is used for transport in general. Land in cities is scarce and getting scarcer so having more public transport leaves more space for other, equally vital functions, improving the overall productivity and liveability of an urban area.

For more information on the UITP Mobility in Cities Database, click here.


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