From the cities included in our research, Singapore outperforms other cities for Services, on most of the key metrics. San Francisco, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Seoul and Beijing also demonstrate leadership in the future provision of Services.
As highlighted in the Planning insights of this Index, much of the cities’ focus is on public housing.
One city that achieves a lofty score for Housing is Singapore. The city state, which sits on the Equator, has made good and affordable housing a priority, with the Housing Development Board responsible for building affordable homes and transforming towns to create value and quality living. Singapore enjoys a well-organised government with a clear mandate for implementing improvements. This is noticeable in how they’ve delivered housing.
Singapore’s aim, set out in the January 2013 Land Use Plan, is to build up to 700,000 new homes by 2030 to meet predicted population growth. Of these, almost 200,000 are already in the pipeline. Many of the remaining 500,000 homes will be in new towns and housing estates, infill sites in existing towns, land freed up by the redevelopment of old estates, and vacant land within and on the fringe of the city center. The speed of constructing new homes will depend on actual demand. Existing towns will be rejuvenated through government-funded development programs.
Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Vancouver, also have robust Housing programs in place.
The demand for housing in Copenhagen is rising as 200 people move to the city each week from other cities in Denmark and overseas. Copenhagen is a highly desirable city for property investment and development, and 25 per cent of all new real estate investments are foreign.
In 2013, the city began construction of an additional 2.5 million square meters of housing and three million square meters for business, as a pre-emptive measure to cope with the forecast population growth. At present, an average 61 per cent of household disposable income in Copenhagen is spent on housing. Only 20 per cent of housing units in the Danish capital are owner-occupied, and there is an even split of private rentals, cooperative housing and social housing.
Copenhagen Municipality has recently introduced a mandate that one quarter of all new housing developments must have an area allocated for affordable housing. Several nearby municipalities are also adopting this concept.
In Edinburgh, the housing strategy which was published this year, acknowledges the forecast long-term population increase (nearly 17 per cent by 2035) and pledges CAD5.2 billion towards housing development in the city. It includes a commitment to building 50,000 affordable houses by 2020.
Turning to Vancouver, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver), is a body governing an area that includes 21 municipalities, including the City of Vancouver, the most populous city within the regional boundaries. Metro Vancouver developed a Regional Affordable Housing Strategy which provides a list of recommended actions for municipal members and provincial and federal governments. Metro 2040 provides the overall growth management framework for the region and for the Regional Affordable Housing Strategy. It brings together regional land use and transportation planning, and directs growth to urban centers and Frequent Transit Development Areas (FTDAs).
The city also benefits from the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing for low and middle-income households.
Similar to Housing, Public Transit demands major capital expenditure, with cities often needing to convince federal/state/provincial governments and/or private investors of the merits of projects.
Of the cities included in our research, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul, Copenhagen and Stockholm perform well on the metric of Public Transit.
Cities that are highly livable emphasize walkability and tend to have extensive, affordable and high quality public transport that connects people to jobs, schools and amenities in an efficient and reliable way. In Singapore, travel needs are largely met by trains and buses.
The rail network in Singapore is the backbone of its public transport system. The Circle Line was opened in 2011 to connect people in the east, west and north without passing through the busy interchanges in the city center. The Downtown Line, opened in stages from 2013 to 2017, serves to improve connectivity for commuters in the northwest and east. The Thomson Line primarily serves the population in the north and will be opened in stages from next year to 2021. With the introduction of these lines, as well as the Eastern Region Line, Tuas West Extension and North-South Line Extension, the rail network will increase by about 100 kilometers to 280 kilometers by 2021.
By 2030, the rail network will further extend to include the Cross Island Line, Jurong Region Line, Circle Line Stage 6, North East Line extension and the Downtown Line extension.
Moving to bustling Beijing, the city’s five-year plan includes the expansion of its subway transit network. Construction of four subway lines will begin this year and two railway lines will be completed. Building of the S6 Line, which links Beijing with Baizhou, ZhangJiaKou, TangShan, BinHai and ShijiaZhuang is also a priority.
Beijing already has 12 transport hubs where passengers can change from subway to bus or vice versa. Three new hubs are being built at Science City, Wangjing West subway station and Tonzhou district, of which the latter will cover 70 hectares and be the biggest in China.
Since 2006, all transport modes have used a contactless ticketing systems and soon a new system will be implemented that will enable passengers to download a mobile app, which scans QR codes.
Seoul is in the process of preparing transport policies that focus on encouraging pedestrian, cycle and public transport through active traffic demand management and human-centered infrastructure supply (securing space for pedestrian, cycles and public transport).
The Seoul Metropolitan railway system is comprised of 22 regional, metro and light rail lines. At present, Metro 9 and the Shinbundang Line are being extended and the light rail Sillim Line is being built, and eight new light rail lines are planned.
Since the introduction of exclusive median bus lanes in the early 2000s, the system has expanded by about 15 kilometers a year, mainly on roads with heavy traffic congestion. Today, some 119 kilometers of exclusive median bus lanes operate, providing fast and safe bus services, and connecting major arterial. By 2026, the system will be extended to 214 kilometers of bus lanes.
Seoul also has plans to expand its metropolitan transfer centers and park-and-ride.
In 2017, the newly built Gyeonggang bullet train line linked Incheon Airport to the port city of Gangneung, crossed the north of the country from coast to coast and connected Seoul to Pyeongchang, the Winter Olympics venue. It is now possible to travel by train from Seoul to South Korea’s other big cities in three hours.
In Copenhagen, commuting from the outskirts of the city and getting around the CBD has been made easier by a combination of public transport and cycling. Citizens also benefit from a national regulation which mandated for all new office buildings to be located within 600 meters from a railway station.
A second metro route with 17 stations is due to open in 2019 and further extensions are also underway. Looking ahead to 2024, a 28-kilometer light rail line in northern Copenhagen will connect six local train lines and numerous bus routes.
All trains, metros and ferries in Copenhagen allow cyclists to take their bicycles along for the ride. It is free to take your bicycle on the train and there are at least two dedicated carriages fitted with parking rakes for bikes.
Moving across the Nordics to Stockholm, the city is in an exciting development phase in which many parts of the infrastructure system are being rebuilt, including expanding the subway system with 11 additional stations. Rail transport via the subway remains the backbone of Stockholm’s urban infrastructure and explains why the city has a high patronage rate; about 70 per cent of all journeys occur during peak hours. Policy makers have also successfully implemented congestion charging in the city and on major thoroughfares.
The present long-term masterplan (2014-25) calls for a focus on the development of regional infrastructure to improve connections to neighbouring regions. High-speed rail connecting Stockholm to Gothenburg and Malmö is being planned. Other capacity-increasing rail and infrastructure projects are under way, such as the Bypass Stockholm, which reroutes traffic from the major freeway passing through the city. By 2035, an estimated 140,000 vehicles a day will use the bypass.
Future Mobility Services
Based on our assessment, the top five performers for Future Mobility Services are San Francisco, Singapore, Beijing, London and Stockholm.
San Francisco has many point-to-point services, including electric scooters, mopeds and bikes. There is a permit process in place and pilot programs allowing the city to examine the data collected by the service providers. Also, app-based on-demand services, as well as ride-share and car-share services, are everywhere, so much so that ride-share usership is potentially threatening public transport patronage. The widespread use of ride-share services combined with the car sharing services also reduces the need for car ownership.
In Singapore, 12 per cent of land is set aside for roads and transport infrastructure. With a growing population and more than one million vehicles on the road, the challenge lies in optimizing the use of limited space.
Beeline is a demand-driven, shared transit experiment by GovTech and the Land Transport Authority (LTA). It is an open, cloud-based smart mobility platform developed to provide data-driven shuttle bus services for commuters. The platform enables commuters to book a seat on buses that are provided by private operators. In March 2017, Grab, a private technology company offering ride-hailing transport services, launched a shuttle service in collaboration with GovSec. This new service, called Grab Shuttle, is powered by Beeline.
Through separate partnership agreements with the LTA, Delphi Automotive Systems and nuTonomy, trials are being undertaken for shared autonomous mobility on-demand concepts. If the trials are successful, the projects will be developed into full-scale mobility solutions and Singaporeans will enjoy more comfort and convenience on their journeys, especially for first-and-last-mile and intra-city travel.
Beijing’s private sector offers point to point, on-demand, ride-share and car-share services under policies decided by the government. Since 2016, the Beijing Traffic Commission has managed the internet booking of taxis. Last year, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a joint guidance policy about the sustainable development of mini car rentals. In 2016, the popularity of bicycle sharing was in full swing, with the total number of bicycles reaching 2.35 million.
From the city that leads on this Index, Seattle, is at the cutting edge of the smart city era. It boasts a robust technology ecosystem that includes the University of Washington’s eScience Institute Program and various data-driven companies like Microsoft, Socrata, INRIX and Zillow, working collaboratively on smart city initiatives, such as an adaptive traffic light system to help reduce congestion by detecting vehicles.
In London, trial smart bus routes have led to SmartRide, a point-to-point hybrid bus and taxi service. The potential of demand-responsive buses is also being investigated, with four routes currently being trialed. Uber already provides ride-share services and Daimler AG and Via will follow suit to provide ride-share shuttles in the city. Many car club companies operate in London and by 2025, the Car Club Coalition aims to have secured one million members through the implementation of the London Car Club Strategy.
Other good examples are from Sweden, as usage of cycle-sharing continues to grow in Stockholm. Car-sharing is another booming industry with several companies now operating in the city. As well as taking more cars off the roads, it is an inexpensive alternative for those who only want a car for single occasions. Point-to-point and on-demand services are also on the rise.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) plays a role in many cities. It formalizes the shared mobility offer by commercializing it for either personal travel or the shipment of goods. A particular trip can take advantage of one or more of the above shared mobility options to produce a seamless journey experience. A wide range of on-demand services are on offer, across the range shown above, with the exact options dependent on location, origin and destination. Trips are usually planned and booked via digital apps and similar, with costs that are either pay-as-you-go or bundled.
MaaS models work best where there is already a wide range of transport modes, where data access is relatively open, where operators offer contactless sales or e-ticketing, and where they are open to third parties selling their services.
Future Mobility Technology
Four cities lead on the metric of Future Mobility Technology (Singapore, San Francisco, Stockholm and Beijing). In Singapore, the LTA has signed agreements with companies to develop solutions for autonomous truck platooning to transport containers from one port terminal to another, as well as having issued a request for information for the development of self-driving utility vehicles for waste collection and road sweeping.
Trials for autonomous mobility on-demand services were launched and these comprise a fleet of shared self-driving shuttles or pods that commuters will be able to book through their smartphones to bring them in air-conditioned comfort from their doorstep to the train station or other neighbourhood amenities. This provides for a more comfortable option for first-and-last-mile connectivity and brings greater mobility to the elderly and other commuters who may have difficulty in taking present day public transport. In addition, a 3.5-year project is underway to develop and trial autonomous buses with the possibility of being deployed to serve fixed and scheduled services for intra- and inter-city travel.
Stateside in San Francisco, policy and strategy surrounding connected and autonomous vehicles is set by the state. A trial of an autonomous shuttle is underway at Treasure Island, an artificial island in San Francisco Bay. The City Fleet Zero Emission Vehicle Ordinance mandates the electrification of the city’s light duty passenger sedan fleet by 2022, and the EV Readiness Ordinance mandates all new parking spaces must be able to support electric vehicle charging. The citywide Electric Mobility Strategy, which is focused on electrification of private vehicles, will lay out a vision for reducing adverse impacts of private transport and identify pilots, programs, policies and partnerships to help create a zero-emission transport sector.
In Stockholm, a project called, eRoad Arlanda, will be seen as a world leader in allowing electric vehicles to recharge as they drive. In addition, several moves have been made to promote electrification, among them the Vattenfall AB “inCharge” initiative in collaboration with several companies to make charging of electrical vehicles more available to the public.
The number of electric cars in Stockholm is increasing, as well as the charging infrastructure. The City Council has voted to execute a ban, expected to be implemented in 2020, on some fuels in inner-city areas to improve air quality. The major bus distributor of public transport in Stockholm is investigating the possibility of most of their fleet becoming electric. This could be in place by 2026, when the current traffic agreement will be renegotiated.
In 2017, the Beijing Government began implementing a policy that requires electric vehicle charging facilities every five kilometers. The minimum ratio of charging facilities to total parking spaces is 1:4 for new office buildings, 1:5 for commercial buildings and community car parks, 1:1 for residential development, and 3:20 for other public buildings such as hospitals, schools and cultural facilities. In March 2018, Beijing released its first road test license for driverless cars.
Technology Connectivity and Infrastructure
Moving into the technology sphere and the metric of Connectivity and Infrastructure, five cities performed very well including, Montréal, Seattle, Vancouver, Seoul and Calgary.
In 2016, Montréal was named Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum. It was recognized for its innovative use of information and communications technologies to create economic prosperity by addressing social issues and enhancing quality of life, in part by improving transportation and mobility. Montréal created the Smart and Digital City Office in 2014 and has initiated 70 projects through the 2015-2017 Montréal, Smart and Digital City Action Plan. Already recognized for its vitality in the field of digital technologies, the city aims to become a world leader among smart and digital cities.
In the mid-1990s, Seattle regularly studied and assessed the state of broadband services and infrastructure. In 1996, it installed 550 miles of fiber, although much of this cable remains unused, and some of it is leased to private companies. Seattle leverages several Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) with telecommunication providers including Xfinity, CenturyLink and Wave, to explore opportunities for improved internet access for citizens.
Due to the exclusive federal jurisdiction over wired and wireless telecommunications in Canada, Metro Vancouver has a limited role in influencing outcomes. However, the City of Surrey, which is a part of Metro Vancouver, has laid the groundwork to thrive in the new age of digital connectivity. By the end of this year, fiber infrastructure will bring broadband speeds to 90 per cent of businesses and homes in Surrey and connect the city to broadband networks eastward across Canada and southwards down the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, all the way to California. The City of Surrey is aiming to become a Metro Vancouver digital service hub.
Looking at Asia and specifically, Seoul, we see a leading player in smart industries and their infrastructure related to communications services is well-established. South Korea has 21 million high-speed internet connections and 64.3 million wireless communication service devices in the hands of subscribers. Considering it has a population of 51 million, the level of communications technology usage is healthy.
In Calgary, the city has progressively developed fiber network strategies to ensure essential digital connectivity and improved digital access to the city’s services. Its Digital Strategy was developed to serve as a long-term plan for how it can leverage digital platforms to connect, communicate and engage with each other, with citizens and with other levels of government. A nonprofit technology agency, Cybera, has developed a Digital Infrastructure Report for the province of Alberta that provides a detailed review of Alberta’s current network connectivity, data center resources, high-performance and cloud computing resources, cybersecurity awareness and protection measures, data management policies and procedures. The report also outlines an overall review of digital infrastructure in the province.
For the metric of Open Data, Washington DC, Mexico City, Stockholm and Calgary lead on this Index.
In Washington DC, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, via its Comprehensive Plan, has created goals and programs to continually improve its digital infrastructure (wireless networks, fiber optics and broadband telecommunications) citywide. The district sees accessible digital connectivity as important to residents and businesses, as well as being critical for economic development. There has also been an emphasis on equity by making a major effort to provide network availability to citizens in low socio-economic communities.