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When people travel, they should be able to connect much more smoothly and quickly between different modes of transport

ing less reliance on cars. There is also great potential for information technology to facili- tate more sustainable mobility through the reduction of travel demand via online services. Using IT networks to connect and coordinate cars and public transport can also help reduce traffic congestion and accident risks. Transport, urban planning, business, public services, energy and food supply can no longer be considered in isolation. It is becoming pos- sible to create truly integrated systems where people have choice, flexibility and seamless connectivity. When people travel, they should be able to connect much more smoothly and quickly between different modes of transport. Increasingly, there will also be a need to supplement this physical connectivity with online connectivity; the ability to check infor- mation before and during travel will allow

people to optimise their journeys and perhaps even substitute a degree of physical movement with virtual access to lifestyle needs. We don’t know precisely how people will travel in cities in the future. But just because we can’t predict the future, it doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. We can think about the possibilities, make informed guesses and find ways of dealing with uncertainty. We can help prepare for what might happen. And we can help to shape the future.

There are already many urban mobility innovations that hint at what the world might be like. Stackable electric cars that you can hire all over big cities, a website where you can rent out your vehicle when you’re not using it, and lifelike telepresence screens are all real world examples today. They provide hints of what the future might hold.

We hope that our report challenges some

of the conventional transport planning para- digms and inspires sustainable mobility inno- vation for the future.

Peter Madden is chief executive of Forum for the Future. For more info on the Megacities on the Move report, which was co-authored by Ivana Gazibrar, visit > forumforthefuture. org/projects/megacities-on-the-move.

Forum for the Future is the UK’s leading sustainable development NGO, working internationally with government, business and public service providers. >

This article first appeared in Public Servant magazine.

Sustainable Business | Sustainable Cities | February 2011 | 9

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