Study links best in class transportation to city economic growth

A study commissioned by Council Associate Partner Siemens highlights the economic value that "best in class" public transportation systems bring to cities – and the numbers are huge. To come up with them, Siemens commissioned London-based transport consultancy Credo to put the public transportation systems of 35 global cities under the magnifying glass.

City leaders wanting to develop a business case for transportation improvements should find the study very useful.

The goal of The Mobility Opportunity undertaking was to quantify the potential economic uplift cities could realize by investing in transportation improvements. Here's a quick look at some of the key findings:

    • Greater transportation efficiency across the 35 cities in the study would boost GDP already today by $119 billion
    • If all 35 cities studied would implement relative "best in class" transportation standards, they stand to gain an economic benefit of roughly $238 billion annually from 2030
    • Worldwide, major cities stand to gain around $800 billion per year of economic opportunity from 2030 by upgrading their public transportation networks

Acknowledging that transportation is one of the major factors of a city's competitiveness, a Siemens press release points out that lack of financial resources often constrains cities' ability to invest in their transportation networks.

In analyzing the economics of transportation, some of the factors considered were journey times, crowding and network density, all of which impact a city's productivity. To have a reasonable comparison, the study groups cities into three categories to account for different levels of wealth and development.

Of the 35 cities studied, Credo determined the most cost-efficient cities are:

    • Copenhagen, Denmark (Category "Well-established cities")
    • Singapore (Category "High-density compact centers")
    • Santiago, Chile (Category "Emerging cities")

By comparing cities to the leading city in their category, Credo then quantified the economic benefits that investments in transportation would bring, such as higher productivity and new economic activity.

"The best transportation systems are the ones that move people quickly, easily and comfortably to their destination," said Roland Busch, CEO of the Siemens Sector Infrastructure & Cities. "The leading cities are already achieving this with efficient transport networks that feature modern infrastructure, easy connections across various modes of transportation, and, above all, a clear strategy of how to meet future needs."

You can download the executive summary here.


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