Public as well as private transport is of utter importance in order to be able to move people around quickly, easily and efficiently. As populations grow in urban areas and mega-cities develop, solutions need to be found to improve the daily journeys of commuters. For an efficient and sustainable future transport, strategies must be developed and implemented immediately.
According to Frost & Sullivan, 75 per cent of people in the UK commute using a private transport facility. In London, this number falls to 35 per cent, while 56 per cent of Londoners need more than 45 minutes for their journey to work, even though they live within a distance of 10 miles.
Government and corporate analysed challenges as well as opportunities the world of transport is facing during Frost & Sullivan's "Urban Mobility 3.0" interactive workshop, which took place yesterday at the House of Lords. Journey times, lack of investment, and the commitment to zero emission emerged as the key issues which need to be solved.
Lord Adrian Palmer, vice-chair of the Low Carbon Transport APPG, opened the debate introducing the two parties of panellists: on the one hand, those supporting the development of sustainable personal transport (i.e. cars); on the other, those in favour of developing sophisticated multi-modal public transport. He commented: "The main source of greenhouse gas emissions in cities is energy use, in industrial production, buildings and transport. Following the latest announcement by the International Energy Agency of record high emissions in 2010, future transport must be efficient, sustainable and low-carbon. Good design is needed to meet all three challenges".
The panel included representatives from BMW AG, Bombardier Transportation, Centro, Nissan Europe, PwC, and Technology Strategy Board.
Olivier Paturet of the Zero emission business unit at Nissan boldly challenged the audience to try an electric vehicle in order to make an informed judgment on its acceptability and performance, and any pitfalls. "Driving an electric car is happening now!", said.
BMW's Director of Project Mobility Services, Dr Bernhard Blattel, offered an interesting insight into the BMW value proposition with regard to sustainability, stating that the consumer needs to "enjoy their way", and therefore use a particular service because they like it, not because they are forced to. As such, BMW is focusing on comfort and convenience in developing electric vehicles that satisfy this requirement, as well as removing the barriers between personal and public transport, with innovative car sharing schemes and connectivity.
Soon after the debate Sarwant Singh, Partner and Practice Director Automotive and Transportation of Frost & Sullivan, commented : "It was a powerful debate where the automotive industry had to justify to the public transport lobby why it is still an important and sustainable means of transport for cities of the future, and therefore warrants investments from government to develop zero emission vehicles and next generation connectivity services."
Questions following the debate put the focus on investment, how to accelerate implementation and to make electric vehicles more attractive to users.
But how to get the people away from merely using private transport and embrace public transport facilities on their journey? How to make people buy an electric car?
The future will need to see a joint effort between both public and private transport in order to develop practical and sustainable solutions. Either side cannot afford to progress individually.
Dr Blattel concluded the discussion by saying: "As time runs out… …we need to use every lever we have to get towards sustainable transport solutions. …the future is more about a joint effort of these two means than having a battle between them".
The debate at the House of Lords is followed by a conference taking place at 116 Pall Mall today, featuring presentations and discussions with experts from the Automotive industry and the academic world.
For more background information on the event, visit: gil-global.com/urbanmobility or contact Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, at katja.feick[.]frost.com.
Official Sponsors of 'Urban Mobility 3.0' are Design & Innovation Group, Eaton Corporation, IBM, Michelin, Siemens, and Valeo.
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