The Future of Mobility: A time of unprecedented change in the transport system

This report highlights that transport is critical for the economy, and mobility central to society. It brings together evidence about history, governance and geographies of transport, and changes in travel behaviour, to inform the UK’s response to a range of challenges and opportunities. The report provides a series of policy-recommendations for the sustainable transport system of the future.

Date added 1 April 2021
Last updated 15 April 2021

*This resource is about mobility. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to walking and liveable priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

This report states that the future of mobility needs to be co-created by all: industry, scientists, policy-makers, and citizens. It focuses on the importance of sustainability, understanding this in terms of environmental sustainability (i.e., fewer emissions) but also in term of social sustainability (i.e., a transport that is inclusive for all, for example, considering an ageing population).

This report provides a review of the history of transportation in the UK, and explains that even if the UK has been a transport pioneer, it has been a complex ride, from innovating outdated infrastructure to the air pollution challenge of today. The report also discusses transport governance, for example about local authority control, its benefits, and the complexity it brings. It also provides information about changing travel behaviours and transport uses in the UK, how car use is decreasing and active travel increasing. It looks at travel behaviour at the intersection of age and income. Furthermore, the report has a section dedicated to the geographies of transport, and how usage changes from bigger to smaller cities, and from rural to urban areas. Finally, it reflects on transport and mobility of the future: highlighting the importance of data and technology, as well as decarbonization and active travel.

The report proposes four scenarios for the future in order to show what outcomes are desired and test policies. The four scenarios focus on 4 different main elements: Trends Unmodified; Individual Freedoms; Greener Communities; and Technology Unleashed.

Policy recommendations are also suggested. Some of these include: considering transport as a system, rather than loosely connected modes; focusing on objectives and what wants to be achieved through transport; having a clear long-term vision; considering geographies so that transport decisions are relevant; as well as considering hard and soft measures, etc.