system length
August 15, 2011, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Transit | Tags: , , , ,

Size matters in this case.  Above is a chart by Urban Age showing relative subway route lengths by city.  Below I have matched the route lengths against the city population.

New York and London, which have very efficient downtown metros, have similar ratios of people to track, around 20,000.  One could argue that this is therefore a good benchmark.  It suggests that the South American and Chinese cities have underdeveloped systems.

Berlin has by far the best ratio and must be a dream for people who live in the city.  The underlined cities only have suburban railways which skew the numbers as many trains are designed to take people out of the city, as opposed to serving the downtown neighborhoods.  It reduces the ratio dramatically and makes the numbers look good – see for instance Johannesburg.  But the reality is that these trains are serving suburban commuters and, in many cases, increasing sprawl.

Here are the stats:

Sao Paulo (8)

downtown:  11,244,369 people / 60 kilometers of track = 187,404 people per kilometer

Rio de Janeiro (31)

downtown:  6,323,037 people / 37 kilometers of track =  170,893 people per kilometer

Bogata (22)

metro:   7,467,804 people /  281 kilometers of track =   26,576 people per kilometer

Lima (21)

metro:   7,605,742 people /  58 kilometers of track =   131,133 people per kilometer

New York (18)

downtown:    8,175,133 people /  390 kilometers of track =   20,962 people per kilometer

Shanghai  (1)

downtown:    17,836,133 people /  148 kilometers of track =   120,514 people per kilometer

London  (20)

downtown:    7,753,600 people /  408 kilometers of track =   19,004 people per kilometer

Mexico City (15)

downtown:    8,873,017 people /  200 kilometers of track =   44,365 people per kilometer

Johannesburg  (49)

metro:    3,888,180 people /  580 kilometers of track =   6,794 people per kilometer

Berlin  (58)

downtown:    3,424,764 people /  475 kilometers of track =   7,210 people per kilometer


metro:    12,478,447 people /  477 kilometers of track =   26,160 people per kilometer

From Lists of Cities Proper by Population, Wikipedia:

This is a list of the most populous cities of the world defined according to the concept of city proper (an urban locality without its suburbs)


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: