Sustainability measures of urban public transport in cities: A world review and focus on the Asia/Middle East Region

Chris De Gruyter, Graham Currie, Geoff Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies of public transport sustainability in cities have been very limited to date, particularly in more developing countries located throughout Asia and the Middle East. This paper assesses the sustainability of urban public transport systems in cities by adopting a quantitative measurement framework containing 15 public transport sustainability indicators. It compares aggregate sustainability performance of urban public transport in international regions of cities, and then examines the relative sustainability of selected cities in the Asia and Middle East region. The world region analysis shows that Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America achieve the highest aggregate normalised scores for sustainable public transport, in that order. In general, the results suggest that western developed countries (Western Europe, North America, and Oceania) have better performance on environmental and social indicators but poorer performance on system effectiveness and economic indicators. Asia and Latin America perform the other way round; better on economic and system effectiveness and worse on social and environmental indicators. Eastern Europe is one of the few regions with higher level performance all round. The city-based analysis of Asia/Middle East suggested that out of the 26 cities studied, the top 3 cities in terms of sustainable public transport in the Asia and Middle East Region are: 1st, Manila (Philippines); 2nd, Tokyo (Japan); and 3rd, Chennai (India). Dubai (United Arab Emirates (UAE), rated 26th), Shizuoka (Japan, rated 25th) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia, rated 24th) were the lowest rated cities. The paper explores the implications of the findings and makes suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Public transport
  • Transit
  • Sustainability
  • Aisa
  • Middle East
  • World review
  • Cities

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