Urban transport in world metropolises: A comparative analysis and key features of energy consumption

Keywords: urban transport, world metropolises, energy consumption, comparative analysis, urban planning


Most theoretical and empirical research on the subject of urban transport energy consumption has addressed the role of urban form and urban spatial structure (primarily population density and degree of centralisation), city size (population and/or area), the level of economic development, transport patterns, and transportation infrastructure. Our analysis encompasses a wide range of socio-economic, spatial, transport and infrastructure indicators, as well as energy efficiency and energy consumption indicators in a sample of 35 world cities, covering the period from 1960 to 2005. Comparative analysis indicates there are significant differences regarding the determinants of urban transport energy consumption, especially between the US and Australian automobile-dependent cities, on the one hand, and the wealthy Asian metropolises, on the other. Despite some recent positive trends (a decline in automobile vehicle-kilometres and reduction in urban transport energy consumption), a large number of cities in the developed world still rely predominantly on cars, while sustainable modes of urban transport play an almost negligible role. Due to trends of urbanization, demographic growth and a rise in living standards, the main focus of attention has shifted to metropolises in developing countries. In the long run, the urban form itself is particularly significant, not only because it critically influences transport demand, but also because of its inertness.


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