London, UK – A new report commissioned by Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG), reveals that nearly 60% of urban professionals worldwide would improve transport and roads before anything else to make their city less stressful and a better place to live. More than 50% would pay more, in tax and other ways, to get better roads and transit systems. The report, “Liveable cities: Challenges and opportunities for policymakers”, is the first of two papers 1 which examine the issue of liveable cities today.
The document marks the culmination of a global research initiative in which 575 professionals, representing cities in Asia (30%), North America (30%), Western Europe (30%) and the rest of the world (10%) were surveyed for their ideas about urban liveability.
As Peter Maskell, Chairman and General Manager of Philips Electronics, states “By 2030 it is estimated that nearly five billion people will be living in cities. Globally, some 60 million people – the equivalent to the population of Great Britain – will move into urban areas every year. So, good transport and road networks will be an increasingly important factor. As a result, investment in cost efficient and good quality lighting will be even more essential to ensure that these networks are safe and well lit for the many millions of people who use them each day.”
General cleanliness and the environment are the next most important factors those polled would wish to improve ahead of the jobs market and cost of living and safety and security.
The scale of urban growth presents new social, economic and environmental challenges for those who live and work in cities. Perhaps most importantly, these challenges significantly affect those who run our cities. As seen in the UK, planned spending cuts mean that local authorities will have to reduce their budgets by 27% over the next four years. This has already prompted some councils to reduce services, turning off street lamps in an attempt to save money.
Well-lit roads reduce the number and severity of night-time road accidents by up to 30% and help emergency services carry out their roles after dark.2
Modern lighting technologies, such as LEDs, are cost effective and energy saving, making cities safer and more attractive. Therefore, adoption of better lighting systems can assist councils in ensuring that a good quality of life and the expectations of the citizens they serve are met. In turn, this will impact positively on the continued prosperity of cities by attracting commerce, entrepreneurism and tourism.
Notes to editors
1) The report “Liveable cities: Challenges and opportunities for policy makers” is the first of two Economist Intelligence Unit reports. This first report addresses what city residents want from their cities, and how city leaders can deliver on the citizens’ requirements. The second, to be published in January 2011, will examine the role of business within cities.
2) Reference - Institute of Lighting Professionals