Siemens Industry, Mobility Division

Singapore: Study: Cities Can Significantly Boost Their GDP by Investing in Public Transport

Worldwide, major cities stand to gain around $800 billion per year of economic opportunity from 2030 by upgrading their public transportation networks.

This is according to a study “The Mobility Opportunity” conducted by London-based consulting firm, Credo, and presented June 2 in Singapore. Commissioned by Siemens, the study looks at transportation networks in 35 major cities around the globe and assesses how prepared cities are to meet future challenges, including population growth and higher competition. The results: If all 35 cities studied would implement relative “best in class” standards, they stand to gain an economic benefit of roughly $238 billion annually from 2030. Extrapolating to all comparably-sized cities globally with a population of around 750,000 and greater, this suggests an economic opportunity of roughly $800 billion annually. This corresponds to about one per cent of global GDP. Today the potential benefit would be about $360 billion per year.

Transport is considered one of the major factors of a city’s competitiveness. However, lack of financial resources often constrains cities’ ability to invest in their transport networks. This study is unique in seeking to put an economic value on the cost of inefficient transport, thus helping cities make the case for investment. Some of the factors considered were journey times, crowding and network density, all of which impact a city’s productivity. In order to have a reasonable comparison, the study groups cities into three categories to account for different levels of wealth and development. According to Credo, the most cost-efficient cities are:

• Copenhagen, Denmark (Category “Well-established cities”)
• Singapore (Category “High-density compact centers”)
• Santiago, Chile (Category “Emerging cities”)

Then, Credo compared cities to the leading city in their category. The comparison enabled them to quantify the economic benefits that investments in transport would bring, such as higher productivity and new economic activity. Finally, Credo has developed some key pointers on how cities can realize the potential economic uplift. Case studies show how potential investments can pay off.

"All cities can learn from the leading cities in their category in order to close the gap of their transport networks’ efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity. Because the more efficient a city’s transport network is, the more attractive the city is to business and people", commented Chris Molloy, partner at Credo.

"The best transportation systems are the ones that move people quickly, easily, and comfortably to their destination. The leading cities are already achieving this with efficient transport networks that feature modern infrastructure, easy connections across various modes of transportation, and, above all, a clear strategy of how to meet future needs,” said Roland Busch, CEO of the Siemens Sector Infrastructure & Cities and member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG.

Cities are the engines for future growth. They generate 80 percent of global economic output. However, in a globalized economy, with businesses and workforces increasingly able to relocate internationally, they must compete to offer the most attractive environment for economic activity. The study “The Mobility Opportunity” is geared toward city decision-makers around the world so that they may use its recommendations to achieve the greatest economic benefit.
 

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