London and Paris are some of the most economically powerful cities in Europe and the world at large, and the level of development of their transport systems attests to this assertion. In this paper, the transport systems of the two cities will be compared to determine their similarities and differences. This comparison will be based on three critical factors which include funding, organization, and the quality of the systems.

The first point of comparison is organization of the transport systems of the two cities. Each of the two transport systems is organized into three core units which include surface transport, rail and underground, and cross rail. According to Hendy (2015), the surface transport unit for each system usually encompasses such elements as buses, cycling, streets, the river services, coach stations, dial-a-ride, along with taxi and private hires. The two systems are also similar when it comes to rail and underground units. In particular, the two systems usually cover underground, over ground light railway, trams and airlines (Hendy, 2015). However, there is a critical difference between the two in the sense that almost the entire rail and underground unit in London is government owned, while for Paris’, the largest part of the unit is owned or operated by private companies (Alonso, Monzón & Cascajo, 2015). The cross rail unit for the two cities is largely similar. Mostly, the establishment of rail transport in both cities is the mandate of the government. However, through the respective departments, the government often seeks partnerships in order to build new railways (TripAdvisor LLC, 2015). For instance, in London, the cross rail is a joint venture between the Transport for London and the Department of Transport (Hendy, 2015). These two agencies often partner in order to establish railways that link different parts of the city. Similarly, for Paris, the department of transport usually partners with the various agencies associated with cross rail to establish new lines. However, a major difference between the two units is that in London, cross rail is in the course of establishment. This is to say that this unit is relatively new to the city. In stark contrast, as reported by the TripAdvisor LLC (2015), this transport unit has been in existence in Paris for a long time. Currently, there are no new establishments in Paris with regard to cross rail, save for the constant maintenance works. However, there are plans to establish a cross rail which will link Paris and Monaco (TripAdvisor LLC, 2015).

Funding is also an important focus when comparing the transport system of the two cities under consideration. As reported by Hendy (2015), the two systems are similar in that their income as well as funding often comes from a diverse range of sources, and this includes fares, congestion charges, borrowing, as well as governmental grants. The two are also similar in the sense that they derive income from advertisements. With regard to advertisements, the two systems often allow marketers to erect billboards on major highways especially on roundabouts. However, the marketers have to pay a certain fee. Notably, the transport boards in the two cities usually impose charges depending on the length of time that the ad will be displayed on the billboard. Unlike the case of Paris transport system, the London transport system’s source of funding also includes income from property rentals (Pan & Fan, 2015). In London, there is a scheme called lane rental. The aim of this is to encourage utility organizations to avoid digging up the busy roads of London especially during peak hours when traffic congestion is critical. Utility companies are often assigned a road which they use during such times. No other vehicle is supposed to use the roads designated for such companies (Pan & Fan, 2015). According to Kapoor, Millard and Weerakkody (2015), this form of a scheme is not evident. However, there have been proposals that such an initiative be established in this city to ease congestion. Another difference between the two cities is related to the greatest source of funding. For the London transport system, the main source of funding is the fares paid by passengers (Hendy, 2015). Contrastingly, the main source of funding for the Paris transport system is governmental grants. For the cross rail unit, the two systems are similar in that the funding comes from multiple sources, both governmental and private. In both cities, as Hendy (2015) acknowledges, it takes combined efforts between the government and non-governmental agencies to establish and maintain the railways. Therefore, the source of funding for the two transport systems is diverse.

The transport system of the two cities can be compared based on quality. Generally, it can be said that the quality in the two cities is extremely high. It has been identified that in both cities, the transport network system is that of the 21st century, incorporating and built through a state of the art design and technology. Again, as it was noted by Wright (2015), authorities in the two cities are striving to ensure that the transport facilities such as taxis and buses are capable of operating in zero emission modes especially when being driven in capital areas within the cities. The aim of this is to promote air quality. Still within the context of the transport systems in the two cities, Martins et al. (2015) has revealed that road transport is the chief contributor to airborne pollution in capital areas. However, respective authorities in the two cities are making efforts to ensure a clean environment for the occupants (TripAdvisor LLC, 2015).

In conclusion, it is evident that the two cities share vast similarities and differences with regard to their transport systems. One thing that is evident and can be implied from the discussion is that any decision focused on the transport system has to be strategic, an assertion that is backed by Cordera, Canales, dell’Olio and Ibeas (2015). In regard to this, the respective administrations usually seek to ensure that sources of funding are robust and resilient. At the same time, the authorities engage in joint efforts to ensure that better outcomes are achieved in the field. However, as it has been revealed, the issue of quality is highly diminished by the environmental unfriendly transport facilities that are utilized. As it has been discussed, transport systems that rely on fossil fuels contribute in polluting the environment especially in capital areas. However, as a strategic measure, the authorities in both cities are engaging in ambitious efforts to ensure that the issue is mitigated. In the light of this, it can indeed be determined that to ensure efficiency of a transport system, strategic decisions have to be made. This is what has made the transport system in Paris and London to become benchmarks for other world transport systems.


















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Cordera R, Canales C, dell’Olio L & Ibeas A 2015, Public transport demand elasticities during the recessionary phases of economic cycles. Transport Policy, vol. 42, pp. 173-179.

Hendy P 2015, Annual Report and Statement of Accounts. Available at: [Accessed 22 July 2015].

Kapoor K, Millard J & Weerakkody V 2015, Smart Transport for Smarter Cities in the UK. Available at: [Accessed 22 July 2015].

Martins V et al. 2015, Exposure to airborne particulate matter in the subway system. Science of the Total Environment, 511, pp. 711-722.

Pan CH & Fan HM 2015, Future Communication Technology and Engineering. Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Future Communication Technology and Engineering (FCTE 2014), Shenzhen, China, 16-17 November 2014. London, UK: CRC Press.

TripAdvisor LLC, 2015. Paris: Public Transportation. Available at: [Accessed 22 July 2015].

Wright S 2015, A European model for public transport authorities in small and medium urban areas. Journal of Public Transportation, vol. 18 no. 2, p. 4.

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