From scooters to ride sharing apps, electrification to automation, the way we get from A to B is evolving rapidly. We checked in with six transport experts to uncover the most disruptive transport trends.
Australian Cities Director, Arcadis
“I am genuinely concerned that we could be heading into a mobility crisis if we let innovation go unchecked without a vision and framework within which it operates.
“Conventional thinking is that 100 per cent of vehicles will be autonomous by 2030, and connected and autonomous (CAV) by 2056. At that point, the vehicles will become self-aware – making their own routing decisions among other things. But before that point in time the vehicles will be used for other purposes and turn into mobile offices, entertainment, service provision capsules… this list goes on. You can now use the gym on trains in the UK.
“The primary purpose of CAV may not necessarily be transportation. Arcadis’ work in North Holland with [research organisation] TNO and Delft University of Technology has shown that if CAV mobility is allowed to grow in an unregulated environment, the time spent in vehicles by 2040 will increase by 1,043 per cent.
“I believe that our road network will not have the capacity to absorb that increase. We need an agreed vision for our future mobility, a framework in which it operates and commitment to stay the course for it to be delivered – something Arcadis is actively considering now.”
Transport and Cities Program Director, Grattan Institute
“Plenty of people think that the biggest threat to mobility in Australia is urban congestion, and they may well be right. Whatever new technology may be just around the corner – shared mobility, autonomous vehicles or drones – the competition for scarce road space is real and growing.
“The difficulty is that any meaningful reduction in congestion is only going to come about if we’re prepared to make hard choices. Hard choices like fewer people driving to work alone in their cars, or hours of work and school changing enough to take the ‘peak’ out of peak hour. Hard choices like deterring people from flocking to the big cities, or cities becoming dense enough that walking, cycling and public transport outperform driving.
“To date, governments’ main strategies have been to build new roads, upgrade existing ones, and add new public transport services. They have mostly shied away from making peak-hour driving less attractive. The result is the level of congestion we see today.
“We need new strategies, such as charging drivers on congested roads in peak periods, so that new technologies don’t just give us more gridlock, but unlock genuine benefits for the whole community.”
Chief Operating Officer, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong
“Future mobility – including private car and public transport – is evolving towards an integrated, seamless, flexible and dynamic format with Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) becoming more popular than owning your own car.
“MaaS could provide an integrated door-to-door solution that may incorporate private and public transport via an integrated and synchronised centralised management system. In the future, you will just need to book a service, similar to an Uber booking, with spatial (origin/destination) and temporal (departure/arrival time) information and the integrated system will arrange a service combination to suit your travel needs.
“To be truly successful MaaS needs to lead to a reduction in the number of vehicles and car parks on our transport network, and be able to minimise the dwell time of each vehicle and waiting time of each traveller.”
Associate Director – Freight and Servicing, Transport for NSW
“A paradoxical situation is emerging. For thousands of years a key purpose of roads was for vehicles to bring goods to market. That concept is always going to remain in one form or another.
“Now, though, the sheer diversity of consumer choice in the market and customers’ service level expectations means the transport task of bringing goods to the city or market is growing at a phenomenal rate.
“Modern day marketplaces, like e-commerce, mean it is easy to sell things to people; the key challenge for businesses is to develop efficient supply chains for the physical delivery of the goods to meet customers’ expectations. This needs to be achieved in an environment where all major cities are evolving towards becoming more people-oriented and less planned around the motor vehicle.”
“The forecast price crossover point between internal combustion engines and electric vehicles is in the early 2020s. This will have a significant impact on urban amenity and quality – reductions in noise and vibrations from buses and trucks will improve amenity in town centres, drawing people back out onto the street and footpaths, making high streets more attractive for retail and dining.
“Along with this electrification, cars will become more incrementally self-driving, rather than fully autonomous. Vehicles without steering wheels are realistically 20-years plus away. Features such as self-parking (in confined environments) are already available. As the driving task declines and the sense of being in charge of car decreases, people may adopt Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for their travel needs.
“Between now and the full electrification of the transport system in the early 2030s, city planners and property owners have an opportunity to leverage the electrification and MaaS and focus making better places for people for the 95 per cent of the time they are not in their cars.”
Head of Property & Asset Management – Australia, JLL
“Like other industries, transport is ripe for disruption by the sharing economy. We have seen with business models, such as Uber, that sharing economy solutions that unlock under-utilised capacity can significantly disrupt established markets. Car manufacturers have already started to respond to this threat. A good example of this is BMW and Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz), traditional fierce competitors, who have created car-sharing service ReachNow. In the future the public may not own cars. The car manufacturers will own the cars and they will provide mobility services to us which we pay for based on usage. We can then select the mode of transport we want.
“Think of all the car parking spaces that we won’t need in the future if we share more. In addition, we have car space sharing – another version of the sharing economy with services like Divvy parking allowing owners of spaces to unlock their under-utilised resource. This under-utilised real estate can be put to many other usages. Then add autonomous cars onto the sharing economy and things are really getting interesting!"