It is that time of year again where majority of titles on social media articles include the phrases “a year in review” or “the best of 2015”, but this list is sure to inspire countries to give a second look at their 2016 infrastructure plans in hopes of catching up with the amazing infrastructure of these countries. The World Economic Forum has released its yearly ranking of the countries with the best infrastructure. Although Mexico did not make it to the top of this year’s list, it could follow the example of these top ranking countries, and learn from the different techniques and solutions they have incorporated into their infrastructure designs.
The holder of the last place on this renowned list is Germany, with a score of 6.7 out of 7. Germany’s awe inspiring highways and bridges were once coveted by the rest of the world, but throughout the years, the country has been slowly falling out of the limelight. The country experienced a decline in infrastructure investment and in order to regain its position, it had to invest billions of euros in the renovation, expansion, and preservation of existing infrastructure. With the support of PPP projects, the private sector was able to contribute to the revamping of the country’s infrastructure, and the use of pension funds or insurance companies provided the government with promising alternatives.
Switzerland takes the number one spot in quality of electricity supply and number two in railroad infrastructure. It is one of the few countries that is said to have maintained its great infrastructure standards in comparison to other countries that suffered greatly due to the global financial crisis. Apart from having a well-organized and efficient public transportation system that includes trains, buses, boats, and trams, it is also the world’s fifth country with the fastest internet connection thanks to its highly developed electrical and communications infrastructure. The country is a net exporter of energy generated by its multiple hydro, wind, and solar plants.
Its railroad infrastructure is ranked as number one and this is one of the many reasons why Japan is a leader in infrastructure. Japan is in the epicenter of Asia’s infrastructure boom, and is cashing out large amounts of investment into projects to create an optimal railway system. The country has destined hundreds of billions of dollars in spending to improve and create new roads, ports, and railways throughout the country. Japan is also home to an incredible public transportation system that is so efficient and safe, even kids can wander through its intricate train systems without a problem. The country has made public transportation a top priority and the results are prodigious.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The top ranking country in road quality and second in air transport infrastructure, UAE’s flourishing macro-economy is contributing to the development of quality infrastructure. Home to the tallest building in the world, riveting architecture, and technology, the country is pushing for the development of even more mega infrastructure projects in the years to come. Its six largest projects have an estimated value of over US$55.1 billion, which include the completion of Dubai Metro, Emirates Roads, Etihad Railway Network, Airport Expansion Project, and the Abu Dhabi Metro. The country had a small setback in 2008 due to the economic downturn, but it is restoring its projects and is ready to build.
With the best port infrastructure and road quality, the Netherlands’ commitment to the development of education, infrastructure, and institutions in the last year has definitely helped its economy prosper. Rotterdam has been the number one in port infrastructure for the past four years and its cycling infrastructure of over 22,000 miles of cycle paths encourages the use of alternative transportation methods to reduce street congestion. The country will continue to invest large quantities to modernize its older ports, and integrate technology to improve the flow of information and expand its service.
Having the best quality of air transport infrastructure and second best port infrastructure, Singapore takes the number two spot on the ranking. The country is known for its increasing transparency and framework that encourages the investment in a variety of infrastructure projects. The government constantly invested in the development of ports, air infrastructure, and telecommunications. It has one of the largest commercial shipping registers in the world as well as one of the busiest ports in tonnage terms. Its multiple air service agreements with over 90 countries has encouraged growth and innovation within the air transport sector. One of their mega projects that is expected to begin operations in 2022 is the Kunming – Singapore Railway that connect China, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and other southeastern Asian countries.
- Hong Kong
Last but certainly not least, having a strong telecommunications infrastructure and high quality electricity supply, as well as having a robust transport system, Hong Kong is a guiding force in sustainable infrastructure. Having been named the best city in the world for commuters in 2014, Hong Kong’s transportation system can be used as a role model for the rest of the world. Its Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is one of the most innovative public transport systems in the world. The MTR counts with more than 80 stations, spreading over more than 175 kilometers, and transports an average of 4.07 million people a day. Its stations have public computers, accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers, safety glass doors, and even first class cars. Its unique “value capturing” model allows the system to not only efficiently transport the citizens of one of the densest cities in the world, but also generates revenues of over US$5 billion in a year. It creates real estate ventures with commercial malls in exchange of transporting customers. In addition, Hong Kong’s state-of-the-art telecom infrastructure allows its immense population to connect across broadband and 3G networks in almost 100% of the country, at an accessible price. It ranks first in international internet bandwidth, and fourth in Asia at the Networked Readiness Index