Thursday, December 23, 2010

Planning Mobility for Cities in the Future

Megacities on the move (65 page pdf, Forum for the Future, Dec. 2, 2010)

Also discussed here: Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth (Guardian, Dec. 2, 2010)

And here: Time to start work on the urban mobility systems of 2040 (Forum for the Future, Dec. 2, 2010)

And here: Smart Cities (MIT)

The report being reviewed today looks at the urbanized world 30 years from now and the needs for mobility coming using four scenarios: renew-abad, communi-city, sprawl-ville and planned-opolis on two axes: top down/bottom up and carbon fuel/renewable energy.  Solutions point toward more use of technology, especially “smart” technology, while shifting the favoured means of transportation from the private car to robo-cars and to more “pedestrian” forms.

Key Quotes:

"If we go on with business as usual, what happens is unmanageable levels of congestion because personal car ownership has proliferated,"

"Information technology is going to be incredibly important in all of this, in terms of better integrating and connecting physical modes of transport..But we're also going to see lots more user-centred ICT [information and communication technology] so it makes it easier for us to access things virtually."

City planning will also be important, creating self-contained neighbourhoods where everything is accessible by walking or cycling”

Six solutions:

  1. ” Integrate, integrate, integrate. Cities need to consider transport, urban planning, business, public services, energy and food supply as part of the same system. Good mobility solutions will offer easy access, choice, and smooth connectivity.

  2. Make the poor a priority. Most population growth in the future will take place in developing world cities, where people on low incomes are in the majority. Future urban mobility systems must be accessible and affordable to all.

  3. Go beyond the car. Current growth rates in car ownership are simply unsustainable. Cities need to be designed for people, not cars, and promote alternative forms of transport.

  4. Switch on to IT networks. Information technology can create more integrated transport systems, and offer virtual mobility solutions which avoid the need for travel altogether.

  5. Refuel our vehicles. Climate change and volatile oil prices mean we need to radically increase the energy efficiency of transport, and shift the way we power our vehicles from petrol to renewable, low-carbon fuel sources.

  6. Change people’s behavior. Better infrastructure and technology are not enough. We need to create new social norms that encourage more sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles”

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