• Question: What do you consider to be the next 'big thing' in transport, that will one day be mainstream?

    Asked by jopole on 8 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Craig Allison

      Craig Allison answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      In Car Automation for people transport, let your car drive you to work and to your friends. We’re seeing the start of this in the Tesla, but it could massively change peoples roles within cars

      I also think Drones could be the next big thing in freight transport, who needs postman and delivery lorry filling the roads when drones could deliver our goods to us!

    • Photo: Miriam Ricci

      Miriam Ricci answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      Two trends I think will affect transport in the future and might become mainstream…one is automation, in passenger and freight transport, and the other is shared mobility, i.e. when people don’t actually own vehicles but share them via an app for example. The sharing economy is developing fast, think about Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and other similar platforms. Or also peer-to-peer services, that are not linked to any big company like the ones I have listed earlier. There is evidence that younger generations are the key users of the sharing economy, also because of financial reasons (sharing stuff is less expensive than owning stuff, like houses, cars…). Automation is happening in many areas of our lives, not just transport. Applications of robots can be found in medicine, mechanical tools etc. Automated vehicles, like the Google cars, could revolutionise the way we move, and the way goods are moved. Platoons of self-driving lorries and unmanned delivery drones could become commonplace! There are also other things that might become mainstream, like MaaS – Mobility as a Service. This means that transport could become a service we access like other services, e.g. mobile phone, broadband or Netflix packages. So you can buy a package of mobility services that cost you say 30 quid a month and gives you access to a certain number of bus rides, train rides, bike sharing, car sharing, car hire, Uber rides etc. It would do all the integrated smart ticketing and journey planning via an app on your smartphone or tablet, so you won’t need to use cash or remember timetables.
      But my personal hope is that what becomes mainstream is that people use less polluting fuels and motorised vehicles, and use more their bikes and their own feet, if they can, for short journeys!

    • Photo: Eleanor Sherwen

      Eleanor Sherwen answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      I think the big thing is going to be a move away from personal ownership of cars. There are loads of factors signposting it. Usage % of private cars is tiny, some of that is because loads get used in the same “rush hour” but flexible working could kill that. Governments are taxing the negative societal effects (such as air quality) of fossil fuel cars more, making them more expensive to own. New tech makes sharing easier than ever before and automation is clearly going to make that even better. WHO has found that inactivity is 4th biggest cause of death worldwide. And mega cities grow and grow, which means storage space is expensive, journeys become shorter, and overall more people find it makes sense to walk/use public transport/own a bicycle or electric bicycle. I think eventually it’ll be mainstream to have never owned a car, just hop into a shared one on the rare occasions that you need it.

    • Photo: Kayleigh Messer

      Kayleigh Messer answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      I agree with the others about automation – we already have things like assistance keeping in lanes on the motorway, braking when the car detects a vehicle in front and cruise control on cars now, so self driving cars aren’t a huge leap from an engineering perspective (maybe a bigger leap for other reasons such as insurance).

      Also I think hybrid / electric cars will become a lot more mainstream than currently, there are new charge points popping up all over the place and as battery technology improves I think it will become more attractive as batteries will be cheaper with longer range.

    • Photo: Emma Grayshon

      Emma Grayshon answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      I love Miriam’s answer. I’ve seen a lot more of the shared bike schemes recently, for example, and these are now morphing into schemes where you leave them where you need to instead of returning them and someone else takes them over. You access the bikes for a fee (although I think some are subsidised or free) and effectively have a subscription. If this is applied across the range of transport modes then wow.

    • Photo: Andy Woods

      Andy Woods answered on 10 Nov 2017:

      Once we can get people beyond the idea that this is “my” car and we move to integrated mobility where you order transport and it gets you there in a really easy way we will see prices plummet and people save time. We should find we can stop rush hour traffic by changing the price or inducing people to use other transport with lower prices.

      I think it is going to change our world and make us happier if we can get over the “my car” idea!

    • Photo: Omar Mustufvi

      Omar Mustufvi answered on 11 Nov 2017:

      Electric vehicles (EV’s) will be mainstream one day, they are needed to reduce the harmful emissions from vehicles (especially localised emissions in congested urban environments). Engineers in all the major auto manufacturers and component suppliers are working very hard to solve the problems associated with EV’s such as cost, range and charging to make this a possibility.

    • Photo: Rhys Phillips

      Rhys Phillips answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      In aerospace, I think it’ll be hybrid/electric aircraft. We have seen this trend in cars and there’s lots of research ongoing to try and make it viable in aircraft. Given the issues we have with climate change, we need to find some solution such as this.