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Amsterdam named best city for green commuting and commuter wellbeing

By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020

Leading car finance provider Moneybarn has standardised the latest city and country-level data available for key categories* including time spent commuting each day, cost of petrol and the cost of a monthly travel pass to rank global cities from best to worst for commuting.

Of the 114 global cities analysed, Amsterdam (6.93) ranks top overall, followed by Munich (6.1) and Oslo (5.98) in second and third place. Hamburg (5.89) and Berlin (5.75) complete the top five.

Three-quarters of the best-performing cities are in Europe, with Germany dominating three of the top five positions. The only three cities outside Europe in the top ten are Canberra, Ottawa and Victoria.

While Amsterdam doesn’t have the shortest commute in the world (held by Tokyo, Madrid and Barcelona) it scores highly for factors which significantly reduce commuter stress.

Amsterdam boasts an impressive public transport network including metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains, plus an affordable I Amsterdam City Card, giving users unlimited use of the GVB public transport system for up to 72 hours.

The city has also invested in sustainable travel, which is reflected in its positive air pollution score (7.65). Amsterdam scores top marks for the number of available EV charging stations and highly for its commitment to accommodating cyclists.

The Netherlands rewards commuting cyclists with tax credits of €0.19 per kilometre, has widened bike lanes, built more low-speed cycle streets and redesigned intersections to make them safer.

The only downside to the Amsterdam commute? If you’re driving, the cost of petrol is high, with prices ranked among the most expensive in the world.

The German cities appearing in Moneybarn’s top five commuter cities are Munich (2), Hamburg (4) and Berlin (5).

chart of transport

Germany is well-known for its efficient and innovative public transportation and is working to bring its latest project, the “Ideenzug” (Ideas Train), to life by 2020. This concept is set to revolutionise morning commutes with modern seating, tech-forward amenities and work areas.

Ranking second globally, Munich receives top marks for time spent waiting at a train station (10 minutes on average), its pollution ranking (8.86) and average walking distance from work (8.11) at 0.72km.

However, it misses out on the top spot with lower scores for cycle ways (4.2), EV charging stations (3.06) and the cost of petrol (2.94).

At the other end of the spectrum, Istanbul (2.46) is ranked as the worst city for commuting, closely followed by Ankara (2.95). Turkey features three times in the bottom five, with Izmir (2.98) also appearing in fourth position.

Istanbul ranks as the third lowest globally for time spent waiting in traffic (0.14) – which is around 52 minutes – beaten only by Rio de Janeiro (0.09) and Moscow (0).

It also scores 0 for cycle ways, with no designated cycle-scheme in the city and 0.01 for its number of EV charging stations.

The city’s air pollution ranking is 2.21 – 11th worst in the world, reaching a significant level since the 1980s, believed to be due to Turkey’s rising population and transportation use.

Hong Kong (2.98) is ranked as the third worst city overall and has the longest commute times in the world. Congestion, traffic and a surge in vehicle ownership leave workers with a daily 90-minute journey.

Reports suggest the typical speed during a Monday morning journey down Des Voeux Road West may be slower than 10km/h – not much faster than walking. Hong Kong also has the most expensive petrol prices in the world.

Commenting on the latest findings, Tim Schwarz, Head of Marketing at Moneybarn said:

“It’s impressive to see countries like The Netherlands and Germany leading the way in transport and environmental innovation; creating solutions which reduce commuter stress.

“The cities failing to encourage travel improvements are not only seeing increased pollution rates but also higher congestion and poor work-life balance, as people struggle to travel into work each day”.

Full results from Moneybarn’s latest research can be viewed on its Global Commuter Index.