The 15 Countries With the Best Transportation
While it’s more likely a traveler planning a vacation will look at the availability of flights rather than the density of paved roads, being able to get around in a country is equally important.
In the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, countries are ranked on their attractiveness for tourists based on 14 categories, including ground and port infrastructure. The report measures countries on the quality of their ports, roads and railroads; the density of both their paved roads and total number of roads; and the efficiency of their ground transport.
With the proliferation of companies like Uber and Lyft, in many cities it’s easier than ever to hail a cab, but across many of the top destinations in this category there’s no need. For anyone who’s ever purchased a Eurail pass on a semester abroad, it won’t come as a surprise that many of the countries with the best railroad density — that is, the most miles of railroad per square mile of country — are in Western Europe. But the best countries for ground travel don't stop there.
These are the 15 countries where it's easiest to get around.
15th place score for ground and port infrastructure is only one of the many attributes this western European country has going for it, given that they placed first in the overall tourism attractiveness ranking. Spain does especially well in the quality of railroad infrastructure indicator.
Barbados' high score in the ground and port infrastructure pillar comes from fifth place scores in both the road density and paved road density indicators. The Caribbean island also highly prioritizes travel and tourism (eighth place), and with turquoise waters and white sand beaches, it’s a great place for a holiday.
Bahrain’s road density is in second place, though road quality ranks 25th.
Austria ranks well in most indicators, but especially in quality of roads and transport efficiency. They’re also in 12th place in the overall tourism destination ranking, with top scores in environmental sustainability and tourist service infrastructure, meaning tourists can feel good about visiting — and know their visit will be comfortable.
11. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom ranks eleventh for ground transport, with scores in the top 20 for all indicators except for quality of roads. For railroad density, the U.K. ranks ninth, making it an easy place to travel by train.
In 10th place is Japan, with the best quality of railroad infrastructure and the best ground transport efficiency in the world. This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s ever been on Tokyo’s extensive train system.
Denmark rates high all-around, with great quality of roads, and lots of them. For those who prefer to pedal rather than drive, biking in Denmark is easy, with nearly 7,500 miles of bike routes.
Luxembourg lands third place for railroad density, and seventh for paved road density. Its location between Germany, France and Belgium, coupled with its accessibility by ground transport, means there’s no excuse not to stop by to see a castle or bicycle across some of the nearly 400 miles of bike trails.
France has one of the highest scores for quality of railroad infrastructure, placing fourth, and also ranks well for paved road density (eighth). In addition to being easy to get around, it’s also easy to get to France, given it has the second-highest score for number of airlines operating in the country.
With a second place score for railroad density, Belgium is a great place to hop on a train and head in any direction. In ground transport infrastructure they do well across the board, too: for quality of port infrastructure they rank sixth, and for road density, third.
Germany actually ranks lower than Belgium in density of railroads (fourth), but overall does very well, ranking eleventh for paved road density, quality of railroad and port infrastructure, as well as efficiency of ground transport. As one of the top-ranked destinations in the world for the overall tourism ranking, connectivity is only one of many reasons to go.
Switzerland ranks fourth overall for this pillar, and second and fifth, respectively, for quality of railroad infrastructure and railroad density. It also has excellent ground transport efficiency, ranking second. With an eighth place score for quality of air transport infrastructure, they are an overall comfortable place to travel to and around.
In third place is the Netherlands, which does well overall, ranking in the top 10 for every indicator within the ground and port infrastructure pillar. With its extensive network of canals, the country ranks first for quality of port infrastructure.
Singapore’s scores are excellent, ranking in second place for ground and port transport, as well as for quality of roads, paved road density and quality of port infrastructure. They are also in first place for quality of air transport infrastructure, meaning it’s an easy country to get to, as well as around.
1. Hong Kong
In first place for ground and port transport is Hong Kong, with high scores in every indicator. Hong Kong, too, scored well for air transport infrastructure (in fifth place), and in 11th place in the overall tourism ranking, meaning it’s both an easy place to travel and a generally attractive destination.