UMR Index


Arrow up

Score: 53.6%

Sustainable Mobility


Arrow up

Score: 44.7%

Public Transit


Arrow up

Score: 56.5%

Population 16.0 million
Surface area (km2) 1,471
Population-density (people/km2) 10,852
GDP per capita ($) 15,666
Select Filter

What Istanbul Does Well in Urban Mobility

Istanbul's airport is an international hub, connecting passengers from all corners of the globe. A new airport in Istanbul will reportedly be able to accommodate about 150 million passengers a year by 2028.

With an effort to reduce private car ownership, Istanbul boasts one of the highest shares of walking trips in the region. Istanbul’s 2050 plan commits to regulating parking to reduce personal car demand even further.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Istanbul’s Transportation System

A lack of dedicated car-free zones and bike lanes alongside hilly terrain has discouraged residents from choosing to cycle around the city. However, Istanbul’s 2050 vision includes plans to build more cycling and walking paths and expand bike-sharing offerings.

Istanbul lags behind many of its peers on electric vehicle (EV) incentive options, contributing to a low EV market share. However, Turkey has reportedly allocated roughly $1 million to support charging station investment.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Istanbul Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

Public transit travelers in Istanbul often struggle with long commute times due to low transit speeds. To help close the gap with leading cities, Istanbul can build dedicated bus lanes to help avoid traffic slowdowns for bus riders. Adding bus lanes is an efficient and effective way to shorten travel times for commuters. Introducing autonomous transit to the city's metro also would help increase speed and efficiency; however, this requires a large upfront investment.

Improvements to Istanbul's cycling infrastructure would help encourage cycling around the city. Installing and maintaining bike lanes with safety dividers on main roadways would help increase cycling trips. Istanbul acknowledges this shortcoming and the city's previously mentioned plans to build more cycling infrastructure would be a positive step. Investing in a bus fleet with bike racks would help integrate cycling (for first- and last-mile) with public transit even further. Given the city’s hilly geography, an e-bike subsidy would prove highly effective, allowing residents to traverse the challenging terrain easily. Lastly, supporting the expansion of existing bike sharing services, such as more stations, bikes, and e-bikes would further support cyclists throughout the city.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores