It seems that the term zeroth world naturally is used to say that such countries/cities are more developed than the first world. More specifically, more developed than USA. Countries/cities like Taipei, Singapore (in this article) or Norway (http://www.chaosnode.net/blog/2018/06/17/life-in-the-zeroth-...) are such examples (you probably can add some more to that list, e.g. Switzerland).
Other articles (https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/america-is-r...) argue that we maybe can just downgrade USA to a developing country (i.e. like 2nd world).
Having spent a decent amount of time in both mainland China and Hong Kong, and living in San Francisco and previously elsewhere in the USA, I can definitely relate. So many things about China feel much more modern than the USA. I get better cell phone service on top of remote mountains in China than I do at my home in downtown San Francisco. Public transit is light years better there as well. Certainly there are things that are worse in China, the main one being air quality, but often coming back to the USA after an extended trip in China or Hong Kong is quite disappointing as I reacclimate to our crappy infrastructure.
The situation at the moment is a bit difficult in that reducing some of the emissions will actually result in more pollution, since the pollutant mix undergoes chemical reactions and some components deplete others.
Do I understand you right that you claim that while train service is bad in USA, there are other things / aspects which are better developed in USA, which are at least as much important? Can you give some examples?
EDIT: To provide a random anecdote, if you've ever known someone who needed an ambulance in the south of Spain you'll know what I mean. ;) The public healthcare services don't exactly have a very positive reputation, though the private ones are relatively cheap.
Random article of an incident in Sweden so apparently it isn't just the experience of my family members: https://www.thelocal.se/20120503/40608
I'd like to find actual data on this but seem to be having difficulty doing so.
Choosing (small) areas and some samples doesn't make a lot of sense, though. Comparing a small city with a county hospital to some rural area and saying "see, there are areas here were medical services are much closer" is obvious and somewhat useless. You'll want to compare the average or median accessibility, not tiny sub-samples.
Anyway, as for air quality, a population adjusted measure of exposure: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/PM25-air-pollution