New ‘Horizon Scan’ report sets out how forward thinking cities can respond to rapid technological and social change

Horizon Scan cityscape

-    Report identifies four key trends to watch for urban transport –

A new report from pteg aims to provide city decision makers with a guide to the implications for urban transport of transformative social and technological change and how they can best respond. 

The report can be downloaded below.

The report (which was produced in collaboration with Arup Foresight) identifies four key overarching trends: 

  • Changes in demographics and lifestyles and the rise of the sharing economy alter mobility choices
  • Urbanisation, climate change and the need to improve air quality put pressure on transport systems
  • Advances in technology and increased digital connectivity make transport infrastructure smarter and more efficient 
  • More powers are devolved to cities and city regions which results in more innovation and leadership in responding to urban challenges in locally appropriate ways

The report also suggests a range of responses for forward thinking cities including:

  • Look for new and innovative ways of funding and supporting transport systems, including opportunities for synergies and savings through breaking down barriers between policy areas (such as health, education and transport) in order to do more for less
  • Be at the centre of determining the mobility offers that will be delivered by smart means in order to promote wider goals – greater public transport use, e-vehicles and active travel. And also to realise the opportunities for civic add-ons as well as generating funds for investment
  • Make the connections between power generation and smarter, greener transport including by linking smart electricity grids with smart, electric transport
  • Think about the implications of new technologies and disrupters on their regulatory role; the implications for the services they currently provide and the people who use them; and how best they can adapt to and maximise the benefits of successive waves of change rather than be swamped by them

John Henkel, who leads on smart futures, for pteg said:

‘Our major urban areas are experiencing a period of accelerating technological and social change. Demographics, the capabilities of smart devices, the expectations of citizens, and even the climate itself are all changing. The pace of change can be bewildering, as in a few short years new developments, from social media to Uber, move rapidly from the margins to the mainstream. What not so long ago was seen as science fiction becomes science fact. The challenge for our cities is how they respond. Will they be swamped, constantly playing catch up to successive waves of change? Or will they be forward thinking and respond dynamically, intelligently and adeptly? In this report we seek to provide a concise summary and horizon scan of likely transformative trends, the implications for urban transport policy, and how forward thinking cities and city regions might respond.’

John Henkel added:

 ‘As a network we see it as part of our role to not only tackle immediate issues like funding or delivering transport schemes, but also to provide thought leadership for the wider sector on medium to long term opportunities and challenges. This report forms part of this strand of our work designed to help ensure that the transport plans and strategies we are pursuing today are drawn up on the basis of an informed understanding of likely future trends.’ 

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485