Urban mobility with zero emissions: are we making progress?

With cities around the world getting bigger and bigger, it’s a priority for city leaders to ensure that people are able to travel freely and easily.

A further consideration, however, is the impact transportation has on the environment and citizens’ health.

How much progress are cities making on the journey towards zero-emissions transportation?

To find out, an Urban Mobility Index, created by Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and sponsored by Qualcomm, is tracking the progress of 35 major cities around the world in their efforts to reduce emissions and ultimately create a zero-emissions transportation network.

According to the Index, Oslo is set to be the first city to cut all emissions from its transportation network, closely followed by other European cities: London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris.

If 100% means a city is operating a completely zero-emissions transportation network, the Norwegian capital is already at 80%.

At the other end of the scale we find Cairo (28%), Nairobi (29%) and Mumbai (31%).

North American cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, are being held back by a love of petrol cars and reluctance among leaders to use strong regulation and penalties to change behaviour, the report says.

Meanwhile, Asian cities, like Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore, are investing heavily in new technologies, but face significant challenges to reduce their current high levels of congestion and pollution.

So what will the first zero-emissions city look like?

“Its leaders will have to be fully committed to change,” says Qualcomm. “It will invest heavily in sustainability. It will use evolving technology, like driverless cars and electric vehicles, alongside the public and private infrastructure to make using them practical.”

And the human element is crucial: “Most of all, it will have citizens that embrace alternative, sustainable transport.”

Sign up to our newsletter

Meet our experts