Can all transport be electrified? How will autonomous vehicles change the way we travel? Are we about to stop buying cars in favour of ride sharing and taxi-hailing services?
These were some of the questions addressed at Shell’s Powering Progress Together (PPT), an event in London exploring the future of transport.
Nearly a year ago, the UK government signalled a commitment to stop sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Today in the UK there are around 45,000 pure-electric cars on the road out of a total fleet of around 31 million.
Achieving the UK’s government’s 2040 ambition is likely to radically reshape the UK’s cities and public transport systems. It would also require a shift in attitude towards car ownership and usage.
A London transport revolution
The day opened with a look at the future of transport. “London is growing on average by two double decker buses full of people per week,” said Michael Hurwitz, Director of Transport Innovation at Transport for London, the local government body responsible for London’s transport network.
Hurwitz called for a shift in transport infrastructure to a more “sustainable mode”. He stated Transport for London’s ambition to have 80% of all trips in London made on foot, on bicycles or using public transport by 2041. This, he said, would reduce both traffic and carbon emissions.
Stan Boland from FiveAI, a company focused on developing fully-autonomous vehicles, stressed the role that autonomous shared transport could play in a low-carbon future. It would, he said, provide London’s commuters with a safe and easy alternative to owning their own vehicle.