As many as 36.7 million city-dwellers will change the way they travel over the next ten years and, by 2030, greener means of transport will represent 49% of all trips undertaken within cities, versus 46% for cars (which currently account for 51% of trips).

However, promoting and investing in technology for urban mobility will be key to facilitating the transition to smarter and more sustainable transport solutions, according to new analysis from Kantar’s Mobility Futures study.

In Asia, China leads with three cities in the top ten of Kantar’s transforming cities index for the region. The country has a heavy focus on green and low-carbon transportation initiatives as part of its five-year plan (2016-2020) for economic and social development.

These include public transport, efficiency in transport, alternative fuels, new energy vehicles, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and general ‘green’ technologies in transport. To further reduce car traffic, city authorities in China are also restricting and regulating car usage and ownership through lottery and auction of number plates.

Beijing is aiming for 400,000 electric vehicles by the end of this year and the next step will be autonomously driving vehicles. Its future fleet of autonomous electric cars could be one of the most resource-efficient systems of transport in the world.

Meanwhile. the plan for ‘Shanghai 2035’ sees huge investments in infrastructure such as extending the subway network to 1,000 km by 2035. Greenways for cyclists and pedestrians have been built in connection with the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and the city of Chengdu plans to extend the network of exclusive bicycle lanes to up to 4,300 km by 2035 to connect all downtown neighbourhoods.

“According to our forecast, these green initiatives will lead to a strong decrease in personal car usage, which explains the dominance of Chinese cities in the Transforming Cities index,” said Nishant Kaushal, chief commercial officer, Kantar Singapore.

For Singapore, Kantar predicts that 740,000 residents (representing 11.7% of the population) will change the way they travel between now and 2030, with cycling and walking becoming the fastest growing forms of transport.

Although public transport will decline, it will retain the highest share of travellers overall, as people look to more active transport modes, or even make the decision not to travel at all.

Over the next ten years, Kantar is projecting the following shift in transport modes in Singapore: Bike +46%, Walking +24%, Car +2% and Public transport -13%.

Anne Rayner, APAC chief solutions officer at Kantar, noted that the Singapore government is continually investing in the city infrastructure. Projects include expanding the rail network, building an island-wide bicycle path network and installing an island-wide EV charging infrastructure as part of the EV car-sharing programme.

However, among the cities that are best prepared for the future of mobility, some are facing a lack of confidence from citizens in their municipality’s ability to actively shape a more sustainable future - which could potentially hold back progress.

“Currently, Singapore ranks at no. 8 in our Citizen Trust index, which indicates the level of confidence that citizens have in their municipalities to actively shape mobility,” Rayner said.

“Besides Singapore, we see Tokyo is already leading the way in sustainable mobility while other cities like Seoul, Jakarta, Sydney and Auckland rely heavily on cars,” she added.

Mobility in Tokyo is already dominated by sustainable modes of transport, and it emerged as the most environmentally-friendly commuter city in the world.

Seoul is planning to reorganise the city's transportation system, currently designed mainly for automobiles, into a pedestrian, e-/bike and eco-friendly public transportation hub. Kantar projects that with the new e-/bike highway CRT (Cycle Rapid Transportation) 11% of the population will change the way they travel over the next ten years, decreasing car usage in favour of walking and cycling.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jakarta has traditionally been a very car-reliant city and has always faced traffic and transportation problems. However, the Indonesian capital is on the cusp of change; with several strategic infrastructure projects, including Jakarta’s first subway line (MRT) and a light rail system (LRT), 10% of the population are set to change the way they travel over.

Sourced from Kantar