Private cars as enablers for transportation is common sense to many in today’s society, where combustion engines are still the major player. As Earth is predicted to hold 10 billion people by mid-century, that understanding has to shift to instead favour a joint vision of a more equitable and inclusive mobility system; enabling people and goods to move faster, safer, cheaper and cleaner than today.
What could the realization of such a system improve for us individuals and the society that we live in?
As the electric vehicle market keeps developing and renewable energy occupies larger shares of our electricity production, we can gain massively from lower emissions and better air quality. More communication and interconnections between different transport modes along with automation can provide us with less time spent in traffic, cheaper and convenient services as well as new qualities like off-hour deliveries to improve transport flows. Introduction of such extensive systems will also furnish many new kinds of jobs to cover for the fact that some of the current positions will be redundant of human interaction.
What is required from leaders to steer towards this future?
There’s no doubt that we need to establish more collaboration amongst cities, communities, civic leaders, governments and business. Together, we must work to create a mobility system where everyone can travel from A to B, feel safe about spreading their personal data for the benefit of the system, find new business models that accelerate the deployment of new mobility services and welcome innovation as a member of the family. Recent technology progress has the potential to realize a sustainable future, but building public acceptance and legal frameworks are key factors that require huge amounts of work to open the gates to a flourishing mobility ecosystem.
Indeed, a lot of the essential technologies for enabling more efficient mobility systems are available, but much effort is needed to change the transport behaviours of citizens that are used to owning private vehicles. Some solutions, like MaaS (mobility as a service), require a lot of work on business model development, and others face tough regulations that need to be adapted before commercialization is possible. All in all, we need to work extensively with these “soft factors” ahead to invite new technologies and let them grow to become vital parts of our daily travel.
Written by Hampus Alfredsson, RISE Viktoria.