‘Mobility will be tailor-made and invoiced per km by 2039’
How will your mobility look like in twenty years from now? French newspaper, Le Figaro, probed several experts for their future visions. “Mobility solutions will be abundant, tailor-made, and invoiced per kilometer.”
When people try to envision mobility in the future, let’s say by 2039, they tend to think about flying cars, space-traveling or supersonic trains. Some of these futuristic vehicles could exist in twenty years, but the real ‘revolution’ won’t be found there, Le Figaro writes.
Ecological and affordable
Two primary factors will determine the way we move in 2039. An environmental issue with the ever-increasing population, especially in the cities, and the demand for more individualized mobility services. Transport will need to be ecological, more efficient, and economically affordable.
The supply will be abundant with cars, airplanes, trains, metro, trams, buses, bicycles… remaining the principal means of transport. But they will be ‘technically more intelligent.’ Autonomous flying ‘drone-like’ taxis will complete the multimodal offer.
“Someone living in the suburbs will call for an automous shuttle to bring him to the nearest public transport station,” Mathieu Dunant, Director of Innovation of French metro RATP illustrates. “Flying taxis won’t replace public transport, but sometimes you will use them to go quickly to the airport, for instance.”
Autonomous vehicles probably won’t be generalized by 2039 already, but they will be available at all times, day and night, and offer a solution for isolated people. Deliveries of goods by drones and autonomous vans will become another significant part of the offer.
“By sharing data, smartphone apps will enable you to switch easily between all means of transport,” Patrice Aknin from the Institute for Technical Research (IRT) says. “In the city and the countryside, mobility will be more and more tailor-made, closer to the needs of the people.”
In this context, owning a car will be increasingly rare. Private vehicles that are too polluting, take up a lot of space, and will be steadily replaced by systems of car sharing, renting, or ride-sharing.
“In twenty years, you can imagine that you will no longer know who the car you’re using belongs to. One will buy mobility at the hour and no longer a car as such, and you will be invoiced per kilometer,” Aknin predicts.
Rent a car for shopping
To go shopping, for instance, you will rent an electric city car with a well-adapted trunk. For a vacation, you will go for a family car on hydrogen or bio-fuel to cover longer distances. The car usage itself will ultimately evolve thanks to making it autonomous and by artificial intelligence (AI). It will offer other functions than transportation only.
“Somewhat like the mobile phone evolved into the smartphone,” says Olivier Klein, deputy director of the Transport Lab at Lyon University. “You can imagine that autonomous vehicles become moving office spaces like the trains are more and more becoming today.”
Cottage on the countryside
The combination of all these kinds of transport, if well-spread, will ‘shorten’ the distance between the country and the city instinctively. The user experience will become the central focus. A playful or educational activity will be offered while traveling like participating in a webinar, watching series, reading your mail, or taking a nap.
As a consequence, some experts believe the value of a charming cottage in the countryside will soar in the future, as traveling won’t be experienced as a nuisance anymore.
The trains itself will evolve in other forms too. Like the hyperloop trains, able to reach speeds up to 1.200 km per hour in nearly vacuum tubes. Those will probably remain a privilege for the happy few, Le Figaro thinks.
But a French start-up is working on its ‘Spacetrain,’ building on the idea of the French engineer Jean Bertin in the sixties for a monorail in the open air. The project was abandoned in favor of the high-speed train TGV.
This one will be levitated by air cushions and fueled by hydrogen. It could be there by 2039 and replace part of the intercity public transport, but funds have to be found yet.
It will be slower than the hyperloop, but able to transport up to 250 passengers at speeds up to 500 km/hour, and connecting Paris with Orléans, Le Havre, Rouen, and Lyon, departing every 10 to 15 minutes.
It would be cheaper to build and maintain than the TGVs with ‘affordable tickets’ between 10 and 15 euros for a trip to Orléans (110 km) in 15 minutes instead of 1 hour and 20 minutes today.
1,4 billion ICE cars
And what will become of those 1,4 billion ICE cars in the world of today? By 2040, sales of vehicles on fossil fuels will be forbidden, according to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. They won’t have disappeared by then, but there will be multiple alternatives, Patrick Gruau, CEO of the vehicle manufacturing, Gruau Group, says.
“There will still be cars on internal combustion engines,” he believes, “but they will have very performing particulate filters. And there will be hybrid cars, electric cars, and fuel cell cars on hydrogen. By 2039, 20 to 30% of annual car sales will be hydrogen vehicles,” Pierre-Etienne France in charge of the hydrogen activities of Air Liquide predicts.