Last month, the Governement launched the first stages of its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, declaring that the UK is on the cusp of 'a profound change in how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and countryside...driven by extraordinary innovation in engineering, technology and business models'. These changes will be a key focus for Smarter Travel LIVE! In 2018
The Government's Industrial Strategy, launched in June 2018, set out a series of Grand Challenges to ensure that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, with the first four Challenges focused on the global trends transforming our future:
The first stages of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge involve calls for evidence on Last Mile solutions and the Future of Mobility, responses to which which will inform the Future of Urban Mobility Strategy, to be published by the end of 2018.
Following the Future of Mobility launch, the Government also published its 'Road to Zero' zero emission road transport strategy (see below), which sets out in more detail the government approach to the transition to zero emission road transport.
The Future of Mobility Challenge report refers to 'radical changes' in the transport sector, and notes that 'these will not occur in a vacuum'. More gradual underlying trends can help inform an understanding of what the future of mobility might look like, it says, adding that 'previous trends may not predict future behaviour'. Identified key trends include: ?
The report reminds us that it's important to note what is unlikely to change. For example:
Understanding travel demand is cemtral to positive planning for fiuture mobility, and will be a key issue at Smarter Travel LIVE! The above trends outlined in the Future of Mobility report ecently align broadly with recently published research outlined in All Change, a report from the Commisison on Travel Demand, and Young People's Travel behaviour: What's changed and why, from The Centre for Transport & Society, UWE Bristol & Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford.
However this month's DfT National Travel Survey statistics for 2017, and Road Traffic Estimates, Great Britain 2017, reveal a complex picture. The National Travel Survey key fact is that: 'following a trend of steady decreases in trip rates and miles travelled since the late-1990s, there was an increase in the average number of trips and the average miles travelled per person in the two years from 2015 to 2017'. Road Traffic Estimates, Great Britain 2017, states that '327.1 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads in 2017, a 1.3% increase from the previous year'.
As Glenn Lyons, Mott MacDonaold Professor of Future Mobility and a keynote speaker on this theme for Smarter Travel LIVE! noted in LTT 752: 'The variability of change across different modes, road types and locations points to multiple dynamics and to the risks inherent in any attempt to generalise. There is an understandably strong wish to know why, over time, changes are taking place...but making sense of cause and effect is far from straightforward.'
For instance, the last three years have seen a resumption of traffic growth but this is also a period that saw 'a marked fall in fuel retail prices'. Population growth is an important explanatory factor for road traffic, notes Lyons. A complex picture indeed, and one that looks set to inform a key discussion session at Smarter Travel LIVE!.
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