On my last survey, a five-week trip across Africa, I visited Lagos, Nigeria and Cairo, Egypt, two of the most notorious traffic destinations in the world. These locations lived up to their hype, and I spent a lot of time sitting in traffic. However, I was surprised to find that Nairobi, Kenya’s traffic was almost as bad despite lacking the same level of notoriety. Nairobi’s three main issues are a shortage of stop signs and traffic lights at intersections, poor road quality, and incredible amounts of construction that disrupt traffic routes.
During my survey of Bangkok, I found the multiple transportation systems available for use extremely helpful, especially in comparison to other Southeast Asian cities. In Yangon, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, I was entirely dependent on taxis and rideshare apps, as there are no functioning rail systems, the buses are difficult for foreigners to use, and the cities are not particularly pedestrian friendly. Conversely, in Bangkok, I used a much more balanced mix of rideshare, metro (MRT), Skytrain (BTS), and walking.
Despite the availability of options, public transportation in Casablanca feels prohibitive. The bus system is not really an option for expats or visitors as the vehicles are old and falling apart. The tram is modern, but stops are limited, and it doesn’t connect with major malls, hotels, or restaurants.
In Cairo, expatriates typically use a driver rather than relying on public transportation options. During my August survey I found that, even though taxis have meters, drivers are frustratingly unwilling to use them when driving expats.
Language barriers are common on survey, but each year technology makes it easier to get around and collect cost of living survey information. While in Bratislava during my recent survey, I arrived at a transport ticket counter to find that none of the staff were able to speak English, but this wasn’t as much of an inconvenience as it would have been a few years ago.
Transportation in Mauritius can be challenging for new assignees. Driving is a necessary part of life here as traveling across the island for meetings and activities is common.
From Hong Kong to Banjul and everywhere in-between At home in Hong Kong, getting around the city is simple due to our modern subway. When traveling for survey, I get the opportunity to experience the wide spectrum of ease and difficulty found in the world’s transportation systems
Singapore can be one of the most expensive places in the world to purchase a vehicle because of the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which is required for purchasing a car and allows for ownership for a period of ten years. Singapore uses a Vehicle Quota System (VQS) to determine the number of COEs made available to the public.
While on the roads in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you’re as likely to pass delivery-laden motor scooters as you are Lamborghinis, and all enjoy the smooth, well organized road systems in the country. Much of the urban areas of the United Arab Emirates are new compared to other major cities in the world and have benefitted from superior construction technology and modern planning philosophies not available in past decades.
When I took the metro at 6am on a Sunday morning in Beijing, trains were running every three minutes. This past quarter I surveyed six cities in China. The largest of these cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, all have modern and efficient metro systems.