Urban design is essential to creating the most liveable city in the world. It is about merging public space with architecture to create a sustainable environment. Not to forget an efficient transportation system for all income groups. The Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney constantly rank among the most liveable cities in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
For urban developers and planners, the mark of a developed country isn’t dependent on whether its lower income households can afford a car. Rather, a well-designed city’s benchmark is when even its richest citizens use public transportation for their daily commute. Below are three of the best-designed cities in the world that reflect this philosophy.
1. Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s public transportation system connects all the roads to nearly a thousand bridges and hundreds of waterways leading to other major cities like Hannover, Frankfurt and Hamburg. It has one of the lowest numbers of citizens who own a car, as per statistics from the Berlin Brandenburg.
For commuting, Germans mainly use the U-Bahn, which is their subway system, or the S-Bahn, which travels all over the city centres in Berlin. Getting around the capital is effortless and affordable, even for first-time tourists.
Berlin also has a bus and tram system. The tram in fact, is the third largest in the world next to Melbourne in Australia and St. Petersburg in Russia. There are also taxi, ferry and train services in the city. Despite an efficient system in place, its Department of Transport is planning an overhaul to future-proof its aged facilities. The city might eventually also make use of self-driving buses.
2. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s subway system serves 7.2 million passengers a day. Not only is this transport convenient, fast and comfortable, it is also super clean and quite easy to use and follow, especially for foreign visitors who don’t speak or read Korean. There is a virtual store access from these subways as well so that whilst commuting, passengers can shop and pay for the things they need online and then wait for the items to be delivered when they are at home. This East Asian country’s Department of Transportation spends nearly AU$50 billion a year to keep the subway system up and running.
Meanwhile, commuters may also take colour-coded buses and taxis to get around Seoul. However, traffic can get pretty bad during peak hours and these options may be confusing for non-locals.
3. London, England
Similar to Seoul, London also boasts an efficient subway system known as the “Tube” or the London Underground. It’s actually the very first subway urban transportation system in the world.
However, the Tube is a lot smaller than Seoul trains and other more recent subway systems. Still, it remains the busiest transport service in the city. On any given day, one of its most accessible stations, Waterloo, typically serves 50,000 people.
If people don’t like using the Tube, they can also get around London via its famous and iconic double-deck buses. Tourists especially love this transport system because they can do some sightseeing along the way. Riding the bus convinced 40 percent of the locals to shift to this mode of transportation from cars because it’s convenient and cheap.
Londoners also love to get around town using their own bikes, as the roads are safe and navigable. Hundreds of people use their bikes daily in this city, according to a 2017 report from the mayor’s office.
How Does Sydney’s Transport System Compare?
Sydney’s public transport system consists of four networks: the light rail system, buses, trains and ferries. Sydney commuters secure an Opal card, which works like a universal ticket that lets people gain access to all these networks. Central Station is a major hub for its underground service system, which features Sydney trains. It has drop-off points all around the city, and bus stops are near these points as well.
Buses are one of the more popular ways of getting around the city, as there are routes that go through the suburbs and lead into the city so that people further away from stations are able to get into the city with little problems. The trains are actually a way of life for residents of this bustling city, and it’s also the most versatile option for tourists to get around. Compared to other systems in the world, Sydney trains aren’t the most reliable and commuters are used to experiencing minor delays between scheduled stops.
Meanwhile, boats from the Harbour Bridge next to the famous Opera House ferry passengers to different docks regularly. However, this transport option isn’t the busiest system. The light rail system in Sydney is a good idea, however it is limited in its stops to the south-western part of the Sydney CBD such as the Sydney Fish Markets and Paddy’s Markets before extending to Dulwich Hill. There are plans to expand this service in the future.
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