Passenger transport will increase nearly three‑fold between 2015 and 2050, while more than three‑quarters of all freight will continue to be carried by ships in 2050, according to a new report issued by the International Transport Forum (ITF).
The ITF Transport Outlook 2019 provides an overview of recent trends and near‑term prospects for the transport sector at a global level, as well as long‑term projections for transport demand to 2050.
Uncertainty is a defining feature of the current economic climate and this limits the ability to make robust projections. Still, it can be stated with some confidence that, globally, demand for mobility will continue to grow over the next three decades.
- Passenger transport will increase nearly three‑fold between 2015 and 2050, from 44 trillion to 122 trillion passenger‑kilometres.
- China and India will generate a third of passenger travel by 2050, compared with a quarter in 2015.
- Private vehicles will remain the preferred mode of personal travel worldwide. Travel in cities especially will shift towards public transport and shared mobility. By 2050, both these modes are projected to account for over 50% of total passenger‑kilometres.
- International passenger travel is increasing globally, and growth is projected to be strongest in developing countries.
- More than three‑quarters of all freight will continue to be carried by ships in 2050, more or less unchanged from 2015
In light of current challenges to the global economy and burgeoning trade conflicts, the accuracy of projections for freight transport is particularly uncertain, as demand depends primarily on economic growth and international trade activity
- Better planning tools improve adaptability to uncertainties: Long‑term uncertainty complicates planning. This is especially the case for long‑lived infrastructure investments. Scenario planning helps policy makers understand the bounds of decision sets and allows them to select options that are most robust to the greatest number of possible and plausible futures. Another strategy for decision‑making under uncertainty is to design transport systems in ways that keep these systems adaptable to changing conditions, including the impacts associated with potentially disruptive developments.
- Transport policy must anticipate disruptions that originate outside the sector: Transport policies must be able to respond to a broad range of disruptive developments. Only this will make it possible to reap potential benefits and minimize negative impacts. Disruptions from outside the transport sector are not under the control of policy makers. Their decisions determine the direction and magnitude of the impacts for the sector, however. Smart policies take into account how disruptions affect incentives for transport users and avoid incentive structures that generate undesirable outcomes. Data will be paramount in better understanding the dynamics and potential impact of developments that could disrupt transport.
- Transport systems will benefit from policy frameworks that foster innovation: Innovative technologies and new business models are at the heart of the disruptive developments that transport faces. The speed with which both change often outstrips the pace at which regulation adapts. Thus public authorities will need to move away from the traditional static approach. Rather, the transport system would benefit from frameworks that allow experimentation and iterative changes. Frequent regulatory reviews, limited regulatory exemptions and collaborative regulation‑building involving public authorities and regulated entities can all play a role. Robust risk assessment is necessary to determine when these approaches can be safely adopted without jeopardizing desired policy outcomes.
- More ambitious policies are needed to stop the growth of transport CO2 emissions: All policy levers will need to be used to deliver transport solutions that meet increasing mobility demand in sustainable ways. These must aim to avoid unnecessary transport demand, shift mobility to sustainable transport options and improve the efficiency of transport. Many current policies focus on urban transport, and with some success. They now also need to address the still‑growing emissions in non‑urban and international transport.
Find out the official summary report herebelow: