For the inaugural 2019 edition of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index, the Oliver Wyman Forum selected a set of 30 global cities for in-depth analysis. 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 Beijing and more compact cities such as Helsinki and Amsterdam — 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 initial batch also was 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 over time in future versions of the index. The 2020 edition will include an additional 20 cities.

To build 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. The ultimate strategic goal of cities must be to build mobility ecosystems that reflect New Mobility technologies and priorities, such as seamlessness, electrification, and digitization. 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 five 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 be supported economically by the local community.

  • 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.

It follows then that leading cities in the mobility revolution will likely expand their public transportation modes, availability, and linkages; embrace the sharing economy; experiment with emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles (AVs); prioritize digitization and sustainability; and align municipal policies, regulations, and budgets accordingly.

Ranking criteria

The index uses five basic criteria to rank the cities — system efficiency, social impact, innovation, market attractiveness, and infrastructure. Below find the 35 components that fall under these five metrics — 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 category have been assigned a weight based on their relative importance to the ultimate task of building urban mobility ecosystems. 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. As part of the construction and testing of the index, we conducted a principal component analysis on the data to determine alternate weights as well as a 10 million-sample statistical analysis of possible weight combinations. The extensive testing yielded results very similar to the weights chosen by our team, reinforcing our confidence in the index composition and metrics’ weighting.