Think The NYC Public Transport Sucks? A New Report Says You’re Wrong

Rob Grams Rob Grams

Think The NYC Public Transport Sucks? A New Report Says You’re Wrong
A new report released recently states that not only do we have the best public transport in the country, our public transit is in the top 25% of the world rankings… Really? Yes, really.

It may seem like madness to those of us who are haunted by perpetual delays, train cars held together by cable ties and a smell that can only be described as “wet dog wearing a used diaper.”  But according to a report released by design and consultancy firm Arcadis, New York City has the best public transit system in the country, and out of 100 cities, we rank 23rd.

Arcadis published its Sustainable Cities Mobility Index for 2017 last weekend. The report examines 23 different indicators over three different categories:


Rates safety (traffic fatalities), access to transport services, share of trips taken by public transport, rider connectivity, digitization of the transport system, upkeep of the transport system, uptake of active commuting, airport passengers, hours of metro accessibility and wheelchair access. These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “quality of life” for a city’s commuters and visitors.


Ranks cities on greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, and delays, efforts to lower transport emissions, bicycle infrastructure, air pollution, provision of green space and electric vehicle incentives. These indicators can be broadly thought of as “green factors”.


Examines commuting travel time in a city, transport revenues as a share of expenses, public finance commitment, affordability of public transport, system utilization and efficiency of road networks. These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “economic health”.

Using the above indicators, Arcadis ranked 100 world cities public transit systems. In the first category, “People,” New York managed to rank 2nd in the world. Let that sink in. Consider first though, as bad as it may be, our subway runs 24 hours a day and a number of people that use it tips us over the competition in this category.

This second place achievement is what carries us to 23rd place in the overall rankings, from here on in the news gets progressively worse for New York City.

In the second category, “Planet,” we rank 36th in the world, and with regard to “Profit,” we lag seriously behind the rest of the world, coming in at 77 out of 100. Check out the PDF of the full report HERE.

The report is optimistic about our future though, it has this to say about our fair city:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has so far had an eventful 2017, undertaking two major airport projects. Newark Liberty International Airport broke ground on the $2.4 billion renovation of Terminal A, a project that will include new bridges, a car park and interior modernization to accommodate more passengers. Improvements to LaGuardia Airport are also underway, including a $4 billion unified terminals program, which will update insufficient facilities and provide greater capacity to meet record-breaking passenger volumes. The Authority also approved a $32.2 billion capital plan at the beginning of the year for bus terminal improvements, as part of a ten-year infrastructure strategy. An affordable ferry service launched this year. In the future, New York is planning additional programs, such as the Gateway Program, to increase track, tunnel, bridge and station capacity between Newark, New Jersey and Penn Station, New York, a key economic corridor through which New Jersey residents commute to and from the city.

No matter how we place on this report, it is, without doubt, a concern for the cities residents. We have some of the most complex transportation networks in the in the country that are increasingly under strain from our expanding population, limited space, aging infrastructure. Hopefully, we’ll see some real change and investment in our infrastructure, particularly on the aging subway system, only time will tell.

Featured image source [MTA | flickr]

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