For the 2021 edition of Oliver Wyman Forum’s Urban Mobility Readiness Index, we expanded our research to cover 60 global cities – an increase of 10 from last year – for in-depth analysis. These cities are geographically diverse, representing six regions – North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa. They range from sprawling megacities like Tokyo and Delhi, to more compact cities such as Oslo and Washington D.C., to fast-developing metropolises like Nairobi. They were selected 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 serve as economic epicenters for their regions, making their efforts to improve mobility vital to the growth of much wider areas. The cities also were chosen because data is available to assess, compare, and track the evolution of their mobility capabilities.

In developing the index, we began with a vision of what cities need to be striving for – the characteristics that businesses, consumers, and policymakers consider indispensable today and will still be pursuing a decade from now. That approach led us to break out a new sub-index on sustainable mobility, which groups together cities’ performance on existing metrics such as the strength of the multi-modal network, public transit usage, electric vehicle (EV) ownership and infrastructure, and walking, and adds a new measure of cycling infrastructure.

The 60 mobility ecosystems examined in this year’s index consist of real-time connected, multimodal networks for moving people or goods with minimal impact on the environment. Based on internal discussions and conversations with leading professionals and experts, the research team arrived at the six key attributes of future mobility ecosystems:

  • Integrated: Mobility in the future will stress intermodal, one-stop services 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 encourage a local innovation ecosystem and 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 start-ups – so they can work together to shape the future.

  • Resilient: As disasters and other risks threaten the health of cities, it is important that mobility ecosystems emphasize preparedness in a conscious effort to meet the needs of their residents.

Leading cities in the mobility revolution are likely to 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 Urban Mobility Readiness Index uses five basic dimensions to rank the 60 cities – infrastructure, social impact, market attractiveness, system efficiency, and innovation. These five dimensions, in turn, are comprised of a total of 57 metrics, – key performance indicators – that collectively identify which cities are ready to excel in meeting their future mobility challenges.

Sustainable Mobility Sub-index

Along with the 2021 index, we are introducing a new sub-index of Sustainable Mobility. It is based on the following 16 metrics drawn from the main index:

  • Air quality
  • Noise and light pollution restraint
  • Walkability
  • Car-free zones
  • Cycling infrastructure
  • Rail network
  • Strength of multimodal network
  • Government investment in charging stations
  • Direct EV incentivization
  • Electric charging station density
  • Public transit utilization
  • Car ownership moderation
  • Cycling adoption
  • Disaster-risk informed development
  • Climate-related losses
  • Electric vehicle market share in sales
  • 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 that can thrive in the future. 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 the Oliver Wyman Forum 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.

    We have added one new metric this year, on cycling infrastructure, to sharpen our evaluation of the sustainability of mobility ecosystems.