What will travel in 2050 look like?

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Take home message:

When asked to briefly describe what they thought travel will be like in 2050, the majority of participants in two separate studies DID NOT describe travel as becoming lower carbon/ more environmentally sustainable. This suggests that more work is needed to get people thinking about low carbon transport futures.


Expectations of high and low carbon systems:

These results come from the responses of an online survey that ran from Feb 24th to May 5th 2016. There were 401 people who participated in this survey.

When asked to briefly describe what they thought travel will be like in 2050:

  • 43% of participants thought there would be a transition to low carbon travel systems.

    “I imagine fossil fuels will no longer be used, that ground transport will be perhaps electric, and that flight may use biofuels, or some technology that has yet to be invented.” — Male, New Zealander, 30-39

  • 30% of participants talked about changes that could help reinforce low carbon travel.

    “More virtual travel, less physical travel. Physical travel will be slower.”— Male, Australian, 60+

 
  •  23% of participants described travel in 2050 in ways that suggest continued use of current high carbon travel systems.

    “I know it'll be different, not sure how. Maybe faster flights, quicker airport times. Hopefully better highway systems.” — Female, Canadian, 18-29

  •  55% of participants talked about changes that could help reinforce high carbon travel.

    “Faster ...possibly more space travel available.  People will be able to travel more, because it will cost less.” — Female, American, 60+

Expectations of more environmentally sustainable travel:

These results come from the responses of an online survey that ran in the United States on Oct 19-20, 2016. There were 1071 people who participated in this survey.

When asked to briefly describe what they thought travel will be like in 2050:

  • 28% of participants described travel in the year 2050 as becoming more environmentally sustainable.

    “California will have a bullet train a.k.a [a] high speed railroad from San Francisco to Los Angeles; thus, reducing [the] need for intra-state air flights. Car manufacturers, like Tesla, pushing self driving car technology onto the market will redefine/shift luxury car market from cars w/leather seats to cars able to drive themselves. [This will increase] public transportation buses since cities [are] no longer limited to finding certified commercial drivers.” — Male, American, 30-39