Congestion in the city centre can be the bane of commuters’ lives, but research by the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Mobility Index has revealed Edinburgh’s transport infrastructure is the second best in the UK, only pipped to the top by London.
Edinburgh sits within the top 20 cities globally for the quality and effectiveness of its transport systems, ahead of the likes of Birmingham, Manchester, Barcelona and Milan.
The study found that Edinburgh has the safest transport and some of the best commuting times in Europe. But reasearchers also suggested that more could be done to encourage passenger uptake.
The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Mobility Index ranks 100 of the world’s leading cities according to the three pillars of transport sustainability; people, the planet and profit.
Edinburgh also has some of the highest density of bus and metro stops, making it one of the leading cities in Europe for accessibility of its services.
But despite its accessibility, the study found that Edinburgh’s transport system is the most under-utilised in the UK. The Capital would also benefit from offering more active transport solutions, for example by improving cycling infrastructure and increasing the provision of pedestrian areas.
Graham Hill, Arcadis city executive for Edinburgh, said: “We are undoubtedly getting a lot right in Edinburgh, but the city cannot afford to be complacent. A truly sustainable transport system isn’t just about enabling mobility; it also needs to create major economic opportunity and job growth, and improve the lives of those who rely on it every day. We need to make sure Edinburgh lives up to its potential.
“New plans drawn up by city leaders, including updating ageing infrastructure and extending the recently completed tram line, will go a long way towards building a truly world-class, integrated transport system. This will help to instil wider confidence and encourage more passengers to use the network. Combining and integrating this with new and improved pedestrian areas and segregated cycle routes will make a major difference for people getting around Edinburgh.
“As our population continues to grow, it is essential that planning and design is approached with the resident’s mobility front of mind. Making the most of what it has and actively embracing opportunities for transport improvement is ultimately how Edinburgh is going to stand out on the international stage.”
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “The results of Arcadis’ detailed analysis demonstrate our successful endeavours to provide a world-class integrated transport system here in Edinburgh. We are extremely proud of the award-winning services available to the public, with both Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses continuing to see patronage rise and excellent customer satisfaction year-on-year.
“Now, as the capital’s population grows, it’s more important than ever that we offer sustainable, accessible transport choices for everyone. As we look to the future of Edinburgh Trams, we recognise the social, economic and environmental benefits the line’s extension could bring, complementing our already strong network of bus routes.
“This, in addition to ongoing investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure – as well as the pioneering introduction of 20mph limits across the city - will lead to safer, more people-friendly transport links, reducing pollution and congestion and in turn helping the public to move around Edinburgh as easily as possible.”