A new study has found that 100 percent of people in the city of Paris have easy access to rapid transportation.
That perfect score was enough to rank the French capital at the very top of the pile, ahead of 26 other international cities including London (at 91 percent), Beijing (60), and New York (77).
But the ranking was not so flattering for Paris when the city's outer suburbs were taken into account.
However in the suburbs of Paris, only 50 percent of people can claim that they have similarly easy access, which was defined by the study as being “easy walking distance” – a kilometre of less – from a fast train, bus, or metro line.
Other city suburbs saw considerable drops too, with London region down to 61 percent, Beijing's wider region down to 46 percent, and New York at 35 percent.
The map below plots exactly how this plays out. Living withing the green borders (including inside the small circles) indicates proximity to stations. It's clear that the further from central Paris you get, the easier it is to fall outside the green zone.
The study pointed out that just 2.2 million people live within the city walls, while 12.1 million lived on the outside.
The research was carried out by the non-profit New York-based Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) in the hopes of highlighting how the expansion of cities is harming the planet.
Clayton Lane, ITDP's chief executive officer, said Paris was one of the “major examples of cities that have expanded beyond prescribed political boundaries without effective regional transport plans”.
He added that “mass transit systems should grow as cities grow; yet in most cities, governments still rely on automobile traffic as the primary way of getting people around”.
“In today's megacities, road space is already massively congested with car ownership presently at only 10-30 percent, yet building more roads remains a misguided top infrastructure priority,” he said in a statement sent to The Local.
“Governments need to better serve the other 70-90 percent of the population without cars, and provide better mobility choices for everyone.”
The survey may come as no surprise to those who know the challenges of Paris a city split divided between's its wealthy centre and often poor suburbs.
“I don’t know of any other city where the heart is as detached from its limbs,” was how architect Richard Rogers, who designed a strategic plan for the city, put it.
The good news for those living in the suburbs of Paris is that things will only get better, mostly thanks to the Grand Paris project – an ambitious transport and housing master-plan for the Paris region.
A central part of the project is a new “supermetro” – the Grand Paris Express line 15 – that will run round the edge of the city when it is completed by 2030, better linking the isolated suburbs to the centre of the capital (see map below).
In all four new Metro lines will be built by 2030. For more information click here.