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The little red dot has emerged top when it comes to urban mobility, found McKinsey’s new report titled Elements of success: Urban transportation systems of 24 global cities.
Assessing 24 cities in terms of their impact on city residents, the report took into account a comprehensive set of indicators that cover all modes of transport (personal, public, shared, bicycling, and walking) before, during, and after a journey. Eighty indicators were used directly, while another 15 were used to calculate and cross-check the results. At the same time, 400 residents of each city were surveyed to get a sense of satisfaction levels with the mobility options available.
Cities were then ranked on the metrics of availability, affordability, efficiency, convenience, and sustainability – and finally on overall quality. To do so, more than 30 transportation experts were asked to weight the list of indicators and corresponding aspects according to importance and impact on quality of life.
Apart from being a leader in overall urban mobility, Singapore was also ranked among the top few cities when it comes to public transport – coming in at second place just behind Hong Kong.
The report noted the leaders in the public transport ranking have leading positions in rail infrastructure coverage and public transit efficiency. Beyond that, the top three – Hong Kong, Singapore, and Paris – have much lower rates of public transit fatalities per one million people as compared to other cities.
Two other diverse dimensions among the leaders are convenience and affordability. When it comes to getting high-quality service at low cost, Singapore stood out, representing a notable example in achieving high results across all dimensions, including affordability. Moscow and Beijing are two other examples of balanced cities in the public transport provision that are among the top ten in the other five subdimensions.
Similarly, Singapore was ranked highly in terms of public transport – coming in at third place, just behind Madrid (1st), and Toronto (2nd).
Singapore was also among the five cities where residents were satisfied by both public and private transport.
Looking at the individual city profiles, McKinsey’s report noted Singapore has created a best-in-class public transport system, which is accessible, efficient, convenient, sustainable, and at the same time affordable.
Aspects where Singapore is ranked in the top 10 cities include: public transport affordability (1st), ticketing system (1st), environmental impact (1st), public transport efficiency (3rd), private transport efficiency (3rd), safety (3rd), shared transport (5th), travel comfort (7th), electronic services (9th), and road infrastructure (10th).
Among the objective achievements by the country are efficiency, affordability, as well as convenience and flexibility.
The report noted: “One distinctive feature of Singaporean public transport is efficiency – the country’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) is now working on developing a system of predictive maintenance.”
A major step toward affordability was made in 2013, when the fares were reviewed and new measures were introduced, including a 15% discount on adult fares for low-wage workers, free travel for children, and seven other concessions. As a result, more than one million public transport passengers benefited from the new scheme.
Convenience and flexibility
Another outstanding feature of Singapore’s transport is the ticketing system, the report noted. This is mainly due to the EZ-link card – a unified contactless stored-value card, introduced for public transport in 2002. At the same time, in 2017, the LTA has also piloted paying for bus and train rides with credit cards.
Singapore also stood out when it came to residents’ perceptions – with Singaporeans being most satisfied on 13 out of 14 aspects analysed, both in terms of their transportation’s current state and its changes, as compared to residents globally.
This can be attributed to electronic services and external connectivity.
The electronic services and their evolution are among the transport features that residents enjoy most. LTA continues to enhance these: in 2016 it started partnering with four leading tech companies, Citymapper, Google, Hugo, and Quantum Inventions, to develop new enhanced trip planners, which incorporate transfers into planning intermodal public transport routes.
Singaporeans tend to be very satisfied with their city’s external connectivity, although it lags that of other cities. Given that it is an island/city-state, the city’s absence of domestic flights is expected, and undiminished by the number of international flights offered.
McKinsey’s report noted, the only concern of the residents is affordability of private transport, which coincides with the objective indicators. However, this is the result of deliberate a car limiting policy, which includes relatively high costs of buying a new car (more than $74,000 for a small SUV), the requirement for a special certificate from the government to start driving (up to $37,000) and a charge to drive to the city center.