Low-mobility: The future of transport
Nearly all researchers into the future of global passenger transport assume that both car-ownership and overall vehicular travel will continue to rise. But they also increasingly acknowledge the environmental and resource problems facing vehicular transport, particularly global climate change and oil depletion. In order to meet these challenges, researchers propose a variety of technological solutions, including greatly improved vehicular fuel efficiency, alternative fuels and propulsion systems, and carbon capture and storage. In this paper we question whether these optimistic solutions can be developed and widely deployed in the limited time frame available, and argue instead that not only are ever-rising vehicular mobility levels unlikely to occur, but that the human costs of continuing this approach are also too great. Instead we argue that because transport is a derived demand, we must first articulate a preferred vision of the future, then design an appropriate, sustainable transport system. Finally, we briefly outline what such a low-mobility future transport system would look like, using our own city, Melbourne, Australia, as a case study.