22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 15

We are almost at a time when the way in which we travel will change completely. Transport will become smarter, cleaner and safer thanks to technological advances, changing societal expectations and growing concern for the environment.

Autonomous vehicles will be ubiquitous – transforming the travel experience so that journeys are far more productive and entertaining. It will be straightforward to work on the commute, for example, or to pass the time happily during long-distance travel.

Connectivity will be seamless with vehicles able to link to one another as well as our digital selves so that we can further improve and customise the travel experience.

There will be significant increases in on-demand mobility – the idea of mobility-as-a-service will come of age – and also ‘micro-mobility’ using electric scooters and bikes. These will reflect consumer demands for accessibility and convenience, as well as the need to reduce our impact on the environment.

These changes will have significant infrastructure implications, changing the way cities are planned and run. Technologies such as hyperloop systems will greatly reduce travel times; and for longer trips, space travel innovation will find terrestrial applications. There is scope for different types of innovation too – kinetic road energy harvesting, for example.

Trends in mobility and transport


Accommodating this transformation will involve considerable work. Governments and city planners will need to consider issues such as regulation and infrastructure – including smart cities – as they work out how best to harness new advances.

Organisations will need to understand the impact on their businesses – for example, on employees’ commute times and how they use that time. At a societal level, people must accept and understand new technologies in the face of natural caution about concepts such as autonomous vehicles, particularly as they move forward and dispense with kit such as steering wheels and windscreens.

But the acceptance of technology in this domain will flow into other areas of life. Manufacturers will need to weigh considerations around the programming of autonomous vehicles, including ethical questions.

However, there will be significant benefits. Not least, younger and older members of the community will benefit from improved access to transport.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

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