Efficiency of Train Services in Asia

Four of the world’s top 5 railway networks are in Asia.


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Map of the efficiency of train services in Asia.

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When you ask someone which country they think has the best train services, they will probably answer with Japan. And according to the World Economic Forum, they are correct. With a score of 6.8 out of 7, Japan has by far the best train services in the world.

Half of the global top 10 consists of Asian countries: Japan (1), Hong Kong (2), South Korea (4), Singapore (5) and Taiwan (9). Especially East Asia excels globally. Most of them have a very dense railway network, that covers most of the country and has a high punctuality.

The Asian country with the lowest rated railway services, is the Philippines. It receives a score of only 2.4, ranking 86th out 101 globally. Jordan (2.6), Kyrgyzstan and Thailand (2.8) also have one of the least efficient train services in Asia.

As you can see, there are several countries in Asia whose railway services have either not been reviewed or simply don’t have a functioning railway network.

The data for this map comes from the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 by the World Economic Forum, in which 141 countries are rated on a variety of topics. Some of those ratings are the outcome of The Executive Opinion Survey. 12,987 business executives in 139 economies answered 78 questions, which asks them to evaluate the situation for specific domains at the country level. One of these questions was: “In your country, how efficient (i.e., frequency, punctuality, speed, price) are train transport services?”. People could give a rating from 1 (extremely inefficient, among the worst in the world) to 7 (extremely efficient, among the best in the world).

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