What Amsterdam Does Well in Urban Mobility
Amsterdam has returned for the first time since 2021 to an overall top five ranking. It’s not only known as the cycling capital of the world, its mobility network is incredibly efficient thanks to traffic management systems and dense electric vehicle charging networks. Additionally, high cycling and EV use have earned Amsterdam the runner-up ranking in the sustainability sub-index.
Amsterdam’s impressive cycling infrastructure consists of dedicated bike routes and storage facilities. City plans aim for cycling to account for 35% of all trips made in the city by 2030 by building more cycling lanes and parking availability. In January 2023, Amsterdam unveiled an underwater garage below one of the busiest areas of the city that can house 7,000 bicycles.
The city is promoting electric vehicle usage and has become a global leader in charging station density as it strives to eliminate all fossil-fueled transportation by 2030. By the end of the decade, Amsterdam aims to have more than 80,000 charging points – up from the 9,600 charging points that the city had in 2020.
Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores
Challenges and Opportunities for Amsterdam’s Transportation System
Despite efforts to limit private car ownership, Amsterdam is underperforming in public transit utilization due to difficulties with low station density. That leads to challenges for elderly and disabled commuters who are already unable to benefit from the heavy cycling presence in the city. However, new metro and tram routes are planned along with stations built with accessibility in mind. Cycling’s high popularity also may lead to a lower potential public transit ridership.
With many active residents preferring to cycle around the city, pedestrians and ride-sharing options have a low modal share in Amsterdam. The city has committed to a two-meter space for pedestrians whenever there is a street redesign to boost the city’s modal share of pedestrians.
Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score
How Amsterdam Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility
Amsterdam can make its streets more friendly for walkers by increasing the number of car-free zones. In the long term, Amsterdam can work to increase its pedestrian modal share by introducing 15-minute city concepts, where necessities like work, education, and healthcare are available within a 15-minute walk, cycle, or public transit ride from any point in the city. The city’s plans to remove parked bicycles from walkways with more bicycle storage facilities also will help increase pedestrian modal share.
Amsterdam's public transit network operates at 19 hours per day. Should the city want to improve its metro or tram offering, it may consider extending its operating hours. Some cities, like Copenhagen, offer mass transit services 24 hours per day. Moving in that direction would require investments in the infrastructure with more trains and hiring additional drivers.