One of the world’s leading experts in mobility is warning cities they not only have to embrace disruptive mobility technologies – such solutions are essential to solve current transport issues.
Paulo Humanes, who is a strategy director at PTV Group likens the current transport issue to the “manure crisis” of the late 19th century when horses supported transport in cities. Then, he writes, it was the disruptive technology of the motor car which solved the issue, now we need similar disruptive technologies to change things.
“We are facing a quite similar situation today, with cars instead of horses congesting our cities,” he writes in a blog post. “Again, city authorities feel helpless and struggle to find solutions. And just as in 1900, it is private business ideas and initiatives that aspire to turn today’s mobility upside down.
“The solution to our “horse crisis” has already been invented and is only a few steps away from taking over the world,” he continues”. “But unlike the car back in the 1800s, this time the solution will be a triumvirate of three disruptive technologies: shared mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrification.”
Humanes says that shared mobility is already changing things in London, but when combined with autonomous vehicles it develops its full potential. “Imagine no more intersections for vehicles and pedestrians taking control of flow of traffic. Vehicles will even not be required to stop, but can vary their speed and accelerations in the city and all the city traffic parameters will be uploaded and controlled in the cloud.”
And he adds that electromobility will make cities greener and also bring new forms of demand management. “Soon roads could become energy generators, charging the cars as they drive, making charging stations unnecessary and range issues a thing of the past.
“This way of transferring energy may also provide cities with a form of traffic management with minimal input required: the charging rate could depend on the amount of kilometers driven or on the popularity of a street, inducing people to take another route and thus reducing the risk of congestions.”
And he concludes by writing that understanding the options are now vital: “This is why we assess the impacts these technologies will have on cities, working together with cities themselves, research, academia, startups and the automotive industry. We want to be at the heart of this disruption, developing the tools that address the needs of the city of tomorrow in planning, operating, real-time traffic management and delivering users information.
“We want to ensure that the transition is better planned and understood than the one in the late 19th century, that mistakes are minimized and that through an urban mobility community we can ultimately deliver an environmentally friendly, safe and resource effective world.