Good public transport and new mobility services can cut urban car dependency

High quality public transport combined with a broader mix of mobility services can help reduce car dependency in our cities, now and in the future.

That’s according to the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), which last week released a new Policy Brief titled ‘Public transport at the heart of the integrated mobility solution‘.

Cities with strong public transport, complemented with services such as car- and bike-sharing, shared taxi services and ride-sharing, offer citizens convenient and flexible travel options, the organisation said.

The Policy Brief pointed out that space is at a premium in today’s cities, and yet private cars are parked 95% of their lifetime. What’s more, during the 5% of the time they are driven, they are much less space-efficient compared to public transport, walking and cycling.

With urbanisation on the rise, mobility demand will continue to increase and public transport must be at the heart of any solution.

New mobility services such as ride selling apps (Uber, Lyft), free-floating car-sharing (car2go) and ride-sharing apps (Blablacar) are growing in popularity and play a key role in helping to reduce car ownership. But on their own they are not able to meet every journey need or solve traffic congestion issues: they need an efficient public transport system in order to function well, UITP argued. For example, in Paris, 65% of Uber trips start or end within 200 metres of a metro station.

“Public transport accounts for 1.2 billion trips across the globe each day,” said Alain Flausch, UITP secretary general, as quoted by ITS International. “It is this vital backbone role that it plays — in combination with new mobility services — that will ultimately offer more flexible and convenient travel options that will help our cities to become less car-dependent.”

Sign up to our newsletter

Meet our experts