UMR Index


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Score: 32.8%

Sustainable Mobility



Score: 33.9%

Public Transit


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Score: 32.3%

Population 14.7 million
Surface area (km2) 1,911
Population-density (people/km2) 7,675
GDP per capita ($) 11,614
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What Manila Does Well in Urban Mobility

The Philippines capital has a multimodal transportation system that ranges from open-air jeepney minibuses to bus and light rail networks. It also is building an underground metro that is scheduled to begin service later this decade.

Car ownership levels are low, and many residents walk to get around, helping alleviate pollution and congestion. Recent plans to widen pedestrian walkways and protected bi-directional bike lanes should further promote active mobility.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Manila’s Transportation System

Despite low car ownership levels, the city has not invested in active mobility infrastructure, such as bike lanes and car-free zones. The Department of Transportation has set a target of building over 1,840 kilometers (1,100 miles) of protected bike lanes by 2028, with more than one quarter due to be finished in 2023.

Manila has a low density of public transit stations, a limited rail network, and an undermaintained road network. In recent years, however, the city has made progress by introducing a new generation of light rail trains, extending the light rail network to accommodate more passengers and shorten travel times, starting work on the Metro Manila Subway Project, with completion targeted for 2027.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Manila Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

Riders of Manila's bus service often struggle with long commutes due to low transit speeds. To help improve service, the city can build dedicated bus lanes to avoid traffic slowdowns. During the pandemic, the government converted a section of one of the city’s busiest highways, Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, into a dedicated busway. In the long term, Manila can continue to invest in building more underground lines to increase the reach and efficiency of its rapid transit network.

Manila lags many of its peers with few car-free zones. To promote active mobility and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the city can pilot car-free zones in stages, starting on specific days of the week or during temperate months, for example, and then expanding them based on public perception and utilization.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores