Rapid Urbanization Stoking Demand for Cost-Effective and Energy-efficient Mass Transit Solutions
By BharaniLakshminarasimhan, Industry Analyst, Global Commercial Vehicle Program
Urbanization and its associated side effects - ranging from congestion to air pollution - have placed public transit on the center stage, for the consideration of governments, city transport planners, and private enterprises. More than 60percent of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2020, which will result in considerable congestion. With the evolution of mega cities and mega corridors across the globe, average travel distances for passengers commuting to work are expected to increase. The continual growing price of oil, coupled with concerns over environmental sustainability of our transit systems, are leading to a strengthening regulatory environment in cities.Therefore policy measures such as congestion charging, low emission zones, tolling, and electric vehicle incentives are being prioritised along with public transport investment. On the whole, thiswill influence mobility patterns of urban city dwellers, leaning towards advanced, efficient, and effective public transport systems.
Recessionary trends in the developed world and the inflationary environment in emerging economies are expected to influence consumer travel behaviour and, indeed, the transportation infrastructure. Potentially, this would see reduced demand for expensive (rail/light rail) infrastructure in the short term in developed economies,in contrast to the demand for a cost-effective mass transit solution in emerging economies, in the lack of any current sophisticated mobility infrastructure.