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Metros are essential to the efficient and sustainable mobility our cities require to provide the best urban living conditions. UITP has collected data on a number of indicators, such as ridership, stations, lines, and fleet size, by regularly monitoring the global development of the metro.

In 2018, UITP published the last World Metro Figures, which revealed that 14 new metro lines had opened in cities around the world, bringing the total number of metro-equipped cities to 193.

UITP has released its new “World Metro Figures 2021” Statistics Brief, which displays the extensive data collected since the last release. At the time of data collection in 2020, global ridership had decreased by 60% due to Covid-19, ranging from 32% in Asia-Pacific to 63% in North America. Despite the fact that many networks have since recovered a significant portion of the decline in passenger numbers, few have returned to their pre-pandemic levels.

The most recent tendencies and advancements…in the global metro system

The Statistics Brief provides a glimpse into these shifting times by illustrating how metros are evolving around the world, particularly as citizens demand safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly alternatives to private cars.

Metros are expanding in all regions of the world, with the Asia-Pacific region experiencing the most rapid growth. Year after year, the region’s megacities dominate all rankings.

While this is by no means a race, and we are pleased to see metros advancing in all regions of the world, the development rate in the Asia-Pacific region has been particularly remarkable. Year after year, the region’s megacities dominate all rankings. Seven cities in Asia-Pacific have the ten longest metro networks in the world. Since 2018, Chengdu has joined the top 10 and jumped directly to fourth place, Guangzhou has risen two spots to fifth, and Shenzhen has risen three spots to seventh.

Statistical highlights…from the international metro map:
2019 saw 190 million passengers per day
Between 2018 and 2020, 3,300 kilometers of new infrastructure were put into revenue service.
Seven Asia-Pacific cities rank among the ten longest metro networks in the world.
In 2019, Prague was the city with the most trips per resident, at one per day.

“Metros are a unique urban transport mode thanks to their capacity to move unparalleled numbers of travellers efficiently across transport corridors and networks. UITP provides a detailed picture of the evolution of metros in terms of infrastructure, fleet and ridership – across all regions and throughout an eight-year period. The data shows a sustained development of metro infrastructure, notably in fast-growing cities which face major challenges for mobility and quality of life, and also have a role to play in climate change mitigation.” Corentin Wauters, Rail Manager, Knowledge & Innovation, UITP.

Despite the difficulties faced by the sector since the beginning of the pandemic, metros continue to play a vital role in making our cities more livable and sustainable.

This data from UITP and their members demonstrates the importance of public transportation to building back better beyond Covid-19, and that the metro is a vital component of urban living.

The new UITP Statistics Brief, World Metro Figures 2021