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Urban expansion outpacing rapid transit, report says

While most mega cities are failing to provide adequate access to mass transit, Paris hits a perfect score, which means that all 2.2 million of its people have just a short stroll to rapid transit.

Mass transit networks are failing to keep pace with urban expansion, according to a new report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

People Near Transit: Improving Accessibility and Rapid Transit Coverage in Large Cities examines transport systems in 26 major cities worldwide. The authors measured how many residents live within 1 km (.62 miles) of trains and buses. In the suburbs, options plummet by about half, fueling reliance on cars and limiting access to jobs and education for poor populations, the report says.

Paris wins plaudits for a perfect score of 100 per cent within the city, meaning that all 2.2 million of its people have just a short stroll to rapid transit. Coverage drops to 50 per cent, however, in the wider Paris metro region.

Barcelona scored 99 per cent within the city and 76 per cent across its metro area. Other standouts for citywide coverage include Rotterdam (84 per cent) and Seoul (83 per cent).

Cities with notably inadequate mass transit include Johannesburg, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. All three have roughly 25 per cent access to public transit in their city centers, and even less availability in outlying districts. 

This story was published with permission from Citiscope, a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at

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