Zurich transportation network rated 7th best in the world

Zurich transportation network rated 7th best in the world

While most consider getting around Zurich to be a breeze, a new study from the University of California Berkley and think tank Oliver Wyman Forum has revealed that the transportation system still has room for improvement. The city took seventh in the Urban Mobility Index because of its world-beating public transport, but experts noted that some of Zurich's other mobility policies need a revamp.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index

To create the Urban Mobility Readiness Index, the university and the Oliver Wyman Forum analysed 65 cities across the world by the quality of their “urban mobility”. Alongside factors like the quality of public transport, the study looked at each city’s transportation networks through the following themes:

  • Social impact: Social, environmental, economic and business benefits of a city’s transportation network
  • Infrastructure: Accessibility, quality and interconnectivity of public transport and other infrastructure.
  • Market Attractiveness: Range of public transportation on offer, availability of public funding and competitiveness of mobility companies.
  • Systems Efficiency: Continuity, efficiency and effectiveness of transport services and how well they react to risks or crises.
  • Innovation: Quality of universities, how a city’s transport network adapts to new technologies.

These factors were rated via 56 different metrics, with the results used to place each city on the list.

Helsinki rated the best city for transport

In the latest report, Helsinki went from third last year to first in the ranking, just in front of a resurgent Amsterdam, which went from sixth to second. The Finnish capital was given high praise for its car-free zones, bike paths, rail network and the amount of money the government spends on supporting electric and autonomous vehicles.

When it came to just public transport, Hong Kong took the top spot. The report noted that around 71 percent of all journeys in the territory are completed using the public transport network - for reference, in Zurich, the rate is 41 percent.

Zurich does well thanks to quality of public transport

While Zurich was rated as having the second-best public transport network out of all the cities analysed, the Swiss metropolis’ score overall actually fell compared to last year. Zurich now sits seventh in the overall list, two places lower than the last study and behind the likes of Stockholm, San Francisco, Munich and Singapore.

Starting with the positives, the report recognised Zurich for the diversity, speed and effectiveness of its public transport network. Of particular praise was how widespread the network is within the city and beyond, and how the ZüriMobil, ZVV and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) apps make the city extremely easy to navigate via mobile phone.

Bicycle and electric charging networks in Zurich need work

However, the praise gets less enthusiastic once passengers get off the train and into a car. While scoring highly overall, the study suggested that Zurich still needs a city-wide carpooling service to improve mobility and that officials should push for more electric charging stations on the streets. In contrast to Helsinki, experts lamented Zurich’s lack of enthusiasm for investing in autonomous vehicles.

The criticisms continue onto two wheels, with the report noting that Zurich could take a leaf out of Amsterdam’s book by offering separated cycle paths and more options for renting a bike - they also took aim at the fact that bicycles are not allowed on public transport at rush hour. While the city has promised to construct more cycle paths after a referendum calling for more routes was approved by the public, very little tangible change has occurred as of yet.

10 best cities in the world for urban mobility

In all, here are the cities with the best urban mobility in the world:

  1. Helsinki, Finland
  2. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. San Francisco, United States
  5. Munich, Germany
  6. Singapore
  7. Zurich, Switzerland
  8. Paris, France 
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Berlin, Germany

For more information about the study, check out the official website.

Thumb image credit: Deman /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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