Title: Forecasting world transport in the year 2050

Authors: Patrick Moriarty, Damon Honnery

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University, Caulfield Campus PO Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia, ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, PO Box 31, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia

Abstract: This paper examines what can be known about transport technology and travel volumes out to the year 2050, mainly in the industrialised countries. Analysis of the past 50 years in transport shows that adoption of radically new technology has been comparatively slow. Travel volumes and vehicle fleets have risen roughly in step with national income. The next half-century, however, will likely see major changes in transport technology and fuels, in response to perceived constraints like oil depletion and global warming. The inevitable uncertainty in long-term forecasting will be exacerbated by these constraints. A break in the travel/ income relationship, as has already happened with the energy/income relationship, is also probable. Responding to an uncertain future will prove difficult if change is left largely to market forces. Instead, a larger role for government can both reduce uncertainty and provide us with a more sustainable transport system.

Keywords: air transport; future prediction; global travel; historical travel data; possible futures; preferred futures; probable futures; surface transport; technology forecasting; transport technology.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2004.004053

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2004 Vol.35 No.1/2, pp.151 - 165

Published online: 29 Mar 2004 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article