For the 2020 edition of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index, the Oliver Wyman Forum selected a set of 50 global cities for in-depth analysis – an increase of 20 cities from last year. These cities are geographically diverse, representing six regions — North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa. These cities — comprising sprawling metropolises like Houston and more compact cities such as Stockholm and Bogota — were identified because of their distinct mobility challenges and the varied solutions they are pursuing. They tend to be leaders in understanding the importance of mobility, and they also represent economic epicenters for their regions, making their efforts to improve mobility vital to growth for the entire region. The cities were chosen, to some extent, on the availability of data that would enable the Forum team to assess, compare, and track the evolution of their mobility capabilities.

To develop the index, we began by creating a vision of what cities should be striving for in mobility — the characteristics that businesses, consumers, and policymakers consider indispensable now and will still pursue a decade from now. One key strategic goal of cities must be resiliency and service to what residents want in light of natural and other disasters. These ecosystems are made up of real-time connected, multimodal networks that ultimately provide city residents and businesses door-to-door planning, reliability, and transparency when moving people or goods.

Based on internal discussions and conversations with leading professionals and experts in the mobility and transportation fields, the research team arrived at six key attributes of these New Mobility ecosystems:

  • Integrated. Mobility in the future will stress intermodal, one-stop service providers that provide seamless travel, commutes, and delivery experiences.

  • Accessible. Future mobility will focus on user-oriented approaches that are transparent, easy to use, affordable, convenient, efficient, and available to everyone.

  • Sustainable. Systems and solutions will not degrade the environment or health of city residents and can even offer economic benefits to them.

  • Innovative. Cities should take advantage of the latest technologies, reinterpreting them to fit their needs.

  • Collaborative. Municipalities need to create coalitions with private-sector enterprises — both large legacy players and startups — so they can work together to shape the future.

  • Resilient. As disasters and other risks threaten the health of cities, preparedness for them and a conscious effort to appeal to resident needs is key.

It follows then that leading cities in the mobility revolution will likely expand their public transportation modes, availability, and linkages; provide safe roads, reliable service, and employment opportunities; enable emerging technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles; emphasize digitization and sustainability; bolster their risk preparedness; and align municipal policies, regulations, and budgets accordingly.

Ranking dimensions

The index uses five basic dimensions to rank the cities — infrastructure, social impact, market attractiveness, systems efficiency, and innovation. Below find the 56 metrics that fall under these five dimensions — key performance indicators that identify which cities will excel in mobility.

The index structure and reliability

In the process of constructing the index, the key performance indicators that make up each dimension have been assigned a weight based on their relative importance to the ultimate task of building urban mobility ecosystems in the new normal. The Forum index gives extra weight to factors that capture the ability of a city to become a future leader and ensure rankings reflect performance prospects rather than the competitive status quo.

Weights of the key performance indicators were determined based on discussions that our index team conducted with a wide range of experts including urban planners, traffic managers, transportation finance specialists, and mobility technology executives as well as data collected by Oliver Wyman and the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley. As part of the construction and testing of the index, convex optimization techniques were used to understand the proper weight structure needed to benchmark cities against each other. The extensive testing yielded results similar to the weights chosen by our team, reinforcing our confidence in the index composition and metrics’ weighting.

This year’s metrics encompass numerous new ones, leading to a natural modification of the relative weights to account for the new expansion of the index. This expanded version of the index enabled our team to refine our overall analysis of which cities are best positioned to succeed in the new normal brought about by disruption from natural and other disasters during 2020. We prioritized the core needs of resilience, social impact, livability above next-generation innovations.