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Evolving Urban Transportation in the 21st Century

By Bill Moore

By 2040 two-thirds of the planet's population will live in cities, placing unprecedented press on resources from fresh water to air quality to transportation. In this EV World Dialogues interview, Ricardo AEA's Sustainable Transport Practice Director Sujith Kollamthodi discusses what impact that will have on the future of urban mobility.

"We are moving away from a world where everyone buys a car," explains Sujith Kollamthodi, Ricardo AEA's Sustainable Transport Practice Director on the eve of his talk at the 2015 SAE Congress in Detroit. He had just flown in from his home in Oxford, England and took time to speak with EV World's publisher about a presentation he would be giving the next day. The topic of that talk: the future of urban transportation in a world where two-thirds of the planet live in cities, many of them multi-million population 'megacities.'

What will be the impact of urbanization on the quality of life in those cities, especially in the context of resource constraints, and how that will affect transportation? These are important issues for city administrators, urban planners, state and federal governments, chambers of commerce and, in reality, every person who lives in and around those sprawling concentrations of humanity. It is also increasingly of interest to carmakers, the General Motors and Toyotas, who, incidentally, talked about the future of connected and autonomous vehicles at the Congress, according to Kollamthodi, who had earlier attended their presentations.

Like Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas and Harvard's Tom Bartman, who we will feature next here on EV World inFocus, Kollamthodi sees a world where fewer cars are produced and more of those are shared; and many of them likely will be autonomous. He notes that there are already several such programs called CityMobil2 in operation in Europe, like the Meridian autonomous vehicle pictured above.

More of vehicles in the future will be electric, largely in response to concerns about air pollution and global warming. He points out that, globally-speaking, more people die every year from air pollution-related illnesses than HIV and malaria combined!

While bikeshare programs will continue to grow as a response to urban congestion, the big challenge for city fathers will be convincing the public that riding a bicycle, conventional and electric-assist, are safe, Kollamthodi notes. London Mayor Boris Johson is an activist cyclist and is spending millions of pounds on making the city more bicycle friendly, but it still lags far behind Copenhagen, for example, where 24 percent of all trips are by bike.

To learn more about what one of the world's leading environmental consultancy thinks about the future of urban transport, listen to this EV World Dialogue interview: it is 26-minutes in length.

EV World Dialogue

Times Article Viewed: 6118
Originally published: 28 Apr 2015

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