April 10, 2014

Transportation in 2050

FSG associate Mark Safford recently contributed a brief thought piece to the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment's e-newsletter on "Transportation in 2050." Mark recently retired from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has spent twenty years thinking, writing and talking about the future of transportation.  He was a member of the client core team on FSG’s scenario-planning project for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (today known as “NextGen”) and has participated in previous FSG projects with the U.S. Coast Guard, NASA, FEMA, the FAA and State Department.

In the e-newsletter, Mark highlights four salient transportation-related trends and issues to anticipate:

  • Intellectual property is apt to be, with few exceptions, digitized and transmitted electronically rather than shipped as an "object" (book, newspaper, DVD, CD, etc.);
  • Some people will have the option to "travel" via virtual reality suites instead of actually flying or driving to their destination;
  • Carbon-free and environmentally-sensitive modes may become not only more common, but often required; and
  • The biggest transport challenge may be managing a significant increase in low-value, high-volume freight (e.g., building supplies, fuel, consumer goods, water, and even trash) to support a more affluent life style for more consumers all over the globe.

You can read more here.