Sunday 2 December 2012

Mobility 2050 – Transportation Trends and Megatrends

Sarah Volk of the Zukunftsinstitut GmbH, (Kelkheim, Germany) reviewed the megatrends likely to affect transportation:

  •          Europe’s energy supply will be 80% renewable by 2050.  Fossil fuel usage peaked in 2010 with solar, wind and biomass taking over the majority of energy generation by 2050.  Coal, oil and gas all decline while nuclear remains at 2010 levels or grows slightly.
  •        The use of internal combustion engines as the sole power source declines from near 100% in 2010 to near 0% in 2050.  Hybrid and pure electric take over, hybrids peaking 2025-30.
  •         By 2050 over 6 billion people will be living in cities, and less than 3 billion in the country.
  •         Now half of all journeys in cities are by car.  By 2030 the bike, public transport walking and the car will share journeys equally.
  •         In the country, cars will drive themselves.
  •         High-speed trains will replace all but intercontinental air-travel.
  •          The car is losing its emotional hold on consumers.  In Germany and London (at least) fewer under 30’s are bothering to get a car licence. 
  •         The “status” value of car ownership has declined and is now only 10% of the reasons for choosing a car.
  •          Car ownership is not a privilege any more:  car-sharing is booming among the young, and even BMW has a company car share scheme, “Alpha City”.
  •          Daimler are testing “multi-mobility” in Stuttgart: smart-phones advise the best way to get to your destination by public or shared transport (bikes and cars).
  •          Smart phone apps will direct you to available parking places.
  •          IBM’s “Battery 500” project targets the 500 mile range battery for cars, and in Israel, an aluminium-hydro battery capable of 2400 miles is under development.
  •         In the US, a solar road has been developed which can charge cars driven over it by induction.
  •          The Hiriko city-car shrinks from 2.5 to 1.5 m long for parking and can turn within its own length.
And what are the implications of all this for fibres and textiles?  Weight saving composites will become increasingly preferred to metals in all forms of transport, solar energy will be harvested from fabrics used outdoors, and textile-surfaced control panels will work like touchscreens.

(From Dornbirn Sept 2012)

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