The most Sustainable Cities in 2017

The most Sustainable Cities in 2017

The 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index entitle “Bold Moves” was recently released. Here is a comprehensive recap of its key findings.

“The three top things I hear residents reference about their city regarding mobility are the cost and time (including dependability) of their commute and air quality.”  – John J. Batten, Global Cities Director

The index was established by evaluating how 100 cities around the world perform across the three key pillars of sustainable urban mobility:

  • People, which measures social and human implications of mobility systems including quality of life
  • Planet, which captures the environmental impacts
  • Profit, which assesses the efficiency and reliability of a mobility system to facilitate economic growth

23 indicators were created to facilitate the evaluation of each pillar:

FatalititesTransport greenhouse gas emissionsCommuting travel time
Access to transport servicesProvision of green spaceEconomic opportunity
Modal split of trips takenCongestion and delaysPublic finance
Rider connectivityBicycle infrastructureEfficiency of road networks
Upkeep of the metro systemAir pollutionAffordability of public transport
Wheelchair accessEfforts to lower transport emissionsUtilization of the transport system
Uptake of active commutingElectric vehicle incentives
Transport applications and digital capabilities
Airport passengers
Hours of metro accessibility

Overall ranking and conclusions

The top 10 cities are either European or Asian:

  • Hong Kong
  • Zurich
  • Paris
  • Seoul
  • Prague
  • Vienna
  • London
  • Singapore
  • Stockholm
  • Frankfurt

As a Paris-based event, we have been presenting Paris as the urban mobility capital for a while now and are glad to see that our conviction is confirmed by the Sustainable Cities Mobility Index.

North American cities are spread throughout the index, ranging from New York in 23rd place to Indianapolis in 88th. Most Australian cities are situated around the middle of the index, while South American and African cities make up most of the lower ranks.

The main conclusion of this study is that cities benefiting from “money, mass or maturity” do not necessarily lead the ranking, but cities that have pursued bold moves of innovation and planned for future growth see the greatest sustainability and quality of life benefit.


The People top 10 is composed of Asian, North American and European cities.

What people are most concerned with when it comes to urban mobility is the geographical coverage of the public transport system, the modernity and operating hours of the metro network, as well as the how easily they can access other cities/countries from their hometown.


The Planet top 10 is exclusively European, with the first three spots taken by the German cities of Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.

Most American cities don’t do well here as they emit a lot of greenhouse gases and over-rely on private cars. Many Asians cities and also suffer from high levels of pollution, as do cities with major ports due to container traffic.


Seven of the Profit top 10 cities are European thanks to their well-run public transport systems and investment in alternative commuting methods. Affordability of public transport is a strong suit of many Asian cities, while North American cities sit mainly in the middle of the sub-index because of a relatively low utilization of their public transport systems.

Let us know, in the comments, how your city ranks and how you think it should improve urban mobility!

The full report can be found here

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