The gap between expert vision and consumer reality

The future of transport. What does it hold?

There is no single answer and experts point towards a blend of autonomous, connected, electric and shared transport. But consumer and expert opinion differ on how quickly, and how far reaching, the changes will be.

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autonomous vehicles

The Gap

Autonomous vehicles

In the future, autonomous vehicles will make their own decisions without direct human intervention. Autonomous taxis, drones and delivery trucks could play a major role in reshaping the future, improving not only our road networks, but also our infrastructure, public transport and accessibility. However, people are concerned that autonomous vehicles are unsafe and capable of making unethical decisions.

Question autonomous taxi cutout

Question 01

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Do you think autonomous taxis will be commonplace in 2050?

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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Expert Insight

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Autonomous vehicles have a big role to play, particularly in business use.

Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy Policy, CBI

Timeline

While autonomous vehicles are coming in the near future, there is some dispute about when, where and how quickly society will adopt this technology.
Select a year to see where the experts think transport is heading.

Self-driving cars are expected to be operating on motorways.

Roughly around this time, it is expected that we will begin to see the rise of fully autonomous vehicles.

It’s expected that these vehicles could initially be used for mass transport and not personal use. Semi-autonomous drones are also predicted to be in operation.

Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be more advanced but experts are still unsure how widespread their use will be.

By this point, experts anticipate that fully autonomous vehicles will be commonplace. Beyond this date, air taxis could also be in use.

“The car is starting to look like a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem, which means that in 50 years’ time there could be a fraction of the number of cars on the road in developed countries. Of those that are left, vehicles will be autonomous, and they will be used by 20 people a day instead of one.” – Patrick Fuller, Industry Journalist

connected-transport

The Gap

Connected transport

Soon vehicles will be able to ‘talk’ both with the infrastructure and each other. The result will be safer and smoother journeys. However, there are concerns about whether technology can handle this new way of driving - without impacting consumers’ privacy and data security.

What the experts say:

Connected vehicles will improve the quality and safety of transport, bringing together different modes and operators under single mobility platforms (Mobility as a Service, or MaaS). They will react to real-time feedback on traffic, leading to efficient route planning and reduced fuel consumption.

What people believe:

57% of the general public is optimistic about being able to book journeys door to door by 2050, especially if this kind of service is able to save them time and money.

What the experts say:

Some experts are concerned about technological constraints such as the availability of 5G.

What people believe:

Concerns remain over whether this type of technology will work successfully in rural areas due to existing connectivity.

CONNECTED TRANSPORT

Expert Insight

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Existing public transport networks have their limits. By 2040 there won’t be radical change in fixed infrastructure. The use of hubs will be part of the answer.

Richard Dilks, Chief Executive of CoMoUK

Timeline

Connected transport is developing quickly.
Select a year to see where the experts think transport is heading.

Experts think we will be taking the first steps towards a fully integrated transport network.

Experts predict we’ll know more about what’s going on in real-time due to more connected tech. This in turn will help us ease traffic jams.

“Connected mobility will be adopted most rapidly, opening up huge commercial opportunities and offering a seamless provision of services. However, the technology may face constraints from bandwidth limitations and 5G coverage.” – Society of Motor Manufacturers

Experts believe we will all benefit from having transport and infrastructure than can ‘talk’ to each other, making our journeys smoother.

Experts predict we will have fully integrated connected transport, including the widespread use of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in cities.

electric-vehicles

The Gap

Electric vehicles

Momentum and desire for electric vehicles is growing. They are seen as a key solution for lowering carbon emissions with better battery life and more efficient charging. But there are still challenges to overcome. We must address how to sustainably manufacture and dispose of batteries, as well as overcome consumer concerns about cost, supply and charging infrastructure.

Are electric vehicles the answer?

What experts say:

While electric vehicles are a part of the solution to a lower carbon future, issues still remain regarding battery manufacturing, disposal and the sustainability of electricity supplies.

What people believe:

They are confident that technologies such as charging centres will be common by 2050.

solar-car

Question 03

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If you were considering buying an electric vehicle, which of the following would be your biggest concern?

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Expert Insight

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There should be no reason, given the current legislation, that we shouldn’t move to a 100% electric vehicle state in the near future.

Chris Lane, Head of Innovation, Transport for West Midlands

Timeline

Electric vehicles have already been on the market for a few years now, but how will this technology grow in the future?
Select a year to see where the experts think electric transport is heading.

We are currently seeing an increase in the energy efficiency of electric vehicles and an improvement in the range these vehicles can travel on a single charge.

As the popularity of electric vehicles goes up, some experts expect to see a 15% reduction in greenhouse gases from transport.

Experts predict we will have addressed concerns related to infrastructure, cost of purchase, and the strain on electricity grids. Electric vehicles are expected to take up a much larger proportion of car sales and cars on the road.

Experts anticipate the electrification of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and aircraft.

Most cars on the road will be fully electric and existing fuels will have a greatly-reduced carbon footprint.

All vehicles will have zero emissions.

shared-mobility

The Gap

Shared mobility

As we move away from car ownership, shared mobility will become more important, especially in cities. Driven by the younger generation, shared mobility has the potential to be an attractive alternative to public transport. However, matching the supply to the demand might be difficult, especially in rural areas. Plus, we will have to overcome public concern for personal safety and safeguarding data privacy.

What the experts say:

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Owning a car is becoming more of a liability than a pleasure in a city area.

Warwick Manufacturing Group

What people believe:

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I am an enthusiastic driver and use the car for many of my journeys. The car is the epitome of personal freedom for me. It’s about independence, convenience and spontaneity – sometimes I drive a whole day just for fun.

Manfred, Germany

Concern

62% of consumers are concerned about the impact of car emissions on air quality.

Comfort

69% of consumers think it is important to own their own car.

Young consumers are driving the change

Select an age range to see how opinions vary:

Owning a car is more necessary in rural areas

Urban

67% of urban consumers feel that owning a car is a necessity.

Rural

76% of rural consumers feel that owning a car is a necessity.
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I live in town with my husband and daughter and tend to use my car because I have problems with my back and knees that mean walking and taking public transport is difficult.

Anja, Germany

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Question 05

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Do you think reduced car ownership will lead to lower carbon emissions?

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SHARED MOBILITY

Expert Insight

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Shared transportation is going to deliver many more benefits than autonomous cars. There’s a massive opportunity to take advantage of this unused network.

Tony Lynch, CEO and Co-Founder, FAXI

Timeline

Within future transport systems, there will be an increase in shared mobility options such as car-clubs, carpooling and micro-mobility. This, in connection with other forms of transport, will lead to a lower carbon future.
Select a year to see where the experts think transport is heading.

Presently there is an increase in shared mobility with consumers using car clubs and carpooling. Micro-mobility is also on the rise.

Experts predict there will be an increase in carpooling and shared journeys as private car usage decreases. Greater priority will also be given to pedestrians, cyclists and micro-mobility users in cities.

There will be a move from ownership to access with private vehicles no longer required. There will also be a move from a linear to a circular economy, while mass transit solutions will continue.

There will be fewer cars on the road, replaced instead with shared autonomous vehicles.

Next: Bridging the Gap