Decision-Makers' Session Outline

The Global Transport System of the Future
Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 10.00-11.30 - Hall 1
Fundamental transformations are required in transport, and innovation will play a key role:
  • How can innovation help tackle the key challenges of climate change, energy supply, demographic change, urbanisation, traffic growth, congestion, and changes in the global economy?
  • What innovations are required to get to a sustainable future?
  • What are the policy innovations needed to allow new technologies and practices to flourish?
  • Ian Goldin, Director, James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford
  • Robin Chase, CEO, Meadow Networks, Founder of Zipcar and GoLoCo
  • Cyrille du Peloux, CEO, Veolia Transport
  • Camiel Eurlings, Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Netherlands
  • Moritz Leuenberger, Federal Counsellor, Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland
  • Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Germany
  • Andreas Renschler, Management Board Member, Daimler AG
  • Hermann Ude, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding & Freight
  • Katsuaki Watanabe, Vice Chairman, Toyota Motor Corporation
This Panel will focus on how innovation can contribute to creating the transport system that we need for the future, and on the roles of different actors in making this happen.

Transport is a fundamental underpinning of prosperity, economic growth, opportunity and human interaction. While vast improvements in transport systems have occurred over the last 100 years, various challenges threaten to limit future benefits.

The major constraints on the growth of global transport demand in the foreseeable future will include energy costs and scarcity, climate change, congestion, urbanisation, scarcity of available funding, the ageing population in developed countries, the growing economic and demographic importance of non-OECD countries, security threats, and the need to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.

Current patterns of transport use are, in several ways, not compatible with the aims of lessening transport's contributions to climate change and fossil fuel consumption, maintaining reasonable travel speeds and reliable travel times, and reducing negative impacts on human life. There are also inherent contradictions in some of the pressures on the system as it is currently managed, such as the pressure to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions while also moving more goods and people more rapidly. Also, the fall-out from the global financial crisis will continue to affect the transport sector for a long time to come, and this will include a lack of available public funding for improvements to infrastructure and services.

Recognising this, innovation – doing things differently, including through the application of new technologies, techniques and policies – must play a role in ensuring that transport contributes to a sustainable future.

Transport has a strong tradition of innovation. Such improvements as jet aircraft, containerisation and high-speed rail all occurred within living memory, greatly increasing speed, distance and capacity for passengers and goods. However, increasingly, we may need to focus on new objectives, such as lower energy consumption, greater reliability, and more seamless modal integration.

Private initiative and market forces are essential drivers of innovation – in recent years, low-cost airlines, better vehicles, new software for freight logistics management, in-car GPS, and many other improvements have come about mainly through private initiative. But there is also a clear role for government, particularly in terms of fostering innovation that the market would not otherwise provide. Key questions, then, are what is the appropriate role for different partners, and how can public and private efforts be optimised?
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