Informed travellers and better availability of on-demand modes of transport will dramatically reduce the demand on the private car over the next decade, according to a group of experts assembled by Atkins at an event in London on Tuesday (30th June).
The panel consisted of the General Manager of Zipcar UK, Mark Walker, the founder of Liftshare, Ali Clabburn, Handan Wieshmann, who’s Intelligent Mobility Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Alex Burrows, Technical Director of Atkins.
They were tasked with predicting what transport would be like in 10 years’ time. They agreed that the private car would have to be used less because current levels are not sustainable.
In a 90-minute conversation and question and answer session, Mr Clabburn of Liftshare explained how offering alternatives to the car drives take up. He explained how his company’s personal travel planning service for one local authority had seen a 26% modal shift away from the private car. He added that analysing people’s actual travel requirements not only allows them to see the alternatives but highlights demand where there are gaps in service provision that can be filled by transport operators.
Mark Walker commented that there’s a “magic” where public policy changes and private sector innovation provides solutions. He stressed the need to work together is absolutely paramount, but that legislation will be required, for example where central zones of cities become restricted areas for private cars and that’s because the number of people coming into the city.
Ms Wieshmann suggested that within the decade, transport modes will become complementary rather than competitors and people will use mobility as a service. “I don’t drive and don’t want to own a car but I own a smart phone and if that opens up mobility as a service – great!” she said, and stressed that the opportunities for British innovation and R&D opens up a large business opportunity for companies.
Alex Burrows commented that the sharing economy means we are starting to get a 24/7 on-demand transport system. “Until now”, he said, “we’ve only had that if you own your own car. At the moment you either have your car or you take what you’re given – a fixed network, fixed timetable etc. Having a change of transport ability will change behaviour and make it better for the future.”
This was the first of a series of events by Atkins. More on the sharing economy and mobility as a service can be read here.