Technology drives transportation into the future

Transportation has traditionally been defined as moving from one place to another by the means of a vehicle, yet today it has a more sophisticated meaning.
In UbiGO CEO Hans Arbyand’s terms, the dynamics driving transportation have been aantages and benefits on the one hand, and regulations on the other, but now there is a third pillar to make the milieu thicker: technology as grease.
The International Transportation Forumand’s (ITF)onvention this year features a myriad of topics under the headline and”Mobility for a connected world,and” while working as an exciting platform for leaders in global business to exchange views and offer insights about where the latest trends are driving the industry. The convention, which is being held May 27-29, gathers transportation ministers from 33 countries as well as nearly a thousand experts to exchange views on hot topics related to transportation. One of the major themes at this yearand’s event is the environmental impacts of transportation related to trade and tourism with participating ministers to issue a joint action plan at the end of the event. It is estimated that a quarter of the global carbon emissions each year is due to vehicles.
Among many things discussed in the dense program, two interconnected issues came forth: climate change and technology that has spearheaded recent progress in electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars. The head of Google[x]and’s public policy, Sarah Hunter, made a presentation that was a stunning illustration of what kind of future awaits humanity. She provided details about her companyand’s famous car, which doesnand’t have a steering wheel and moves according to the passengerand’s command. It goes without saying that this car and many other prototypes on the market are a result of the number of problems and flaws arising in conventional vehicle manufacturing. For instance, as Hunter noted, car accidents are by far the biggest cause of death for Americans aged 24-35. Self-driving cars by definition abide by all traffic rules and since they are not distracted by anything, they do what they are programmed to do perfectly — arrive at the destination in the safest way possible. Even a blind or severely disabled person can use such cars and this prospect alone is a promise for the future of this technology.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss remarked on the same issue in a speech he delivered during a panel discussion, saying that andquotthe next generation will be traveling in driverless electric vehicles.and”
h2Fuel efficiencyh2 Will the rise of EVs and self-driving cars spell a death knell for fuel combustible engines? Are existing auto manufacturers ready to embrace the change and dismantle their multi-billion dollar investments all around the world? Lew Fulton from UC Dawis believes this transformation will take place in a natural, demand-driven way as automakers are already taking steps to adapt themselves to the new technology in the transportation business.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the transport sector was responsible for 23 percent of the total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in 2012. It also indicated that transportation tops the list of the fastest growing sectors for CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, with an average growth rate of 2 percent in the period between 1990 and 2012. Alex KandOrner from the IEA underlined in his speech during a side event on fuel efficiency that there is a big disparity between Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)ountries and non-OECD countries in terms of improvements in fuel efficiency. Non-OECD countries must keep scaling up the market coverage of fuel efficiency regulations and stick to the fuel efficiency improvement targets as set out by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) for the years between 2015 and 2030. KandOrner also revealed IEAand’s latest and”International comparison of light-duty vehicle fuel economyand” report during the event, which indicated that Turkey seems to be performing well. For instance, the numbers measuring the market evolution between 2012 and 2013 showed that the market grew by 19.5 percent while the rate of fuel efficiency improved by 3.4 percent. The OECD average was 3.7 percent for market growth and 2.5 percent for the fuel efficiency improvement indicator.
Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) Executive Secretary Sheila Watson pointed out during the same event that this year marks a critical stage for sustainable mobility as well as fuel economy and urban air quality due to the ongoing post-2015, G20 and United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, processes. The common factor of these events is that they are international organizations dealing with sustainable development, climate change mitigation and economic prosperity without forsaking the environment. They also indicate the willingness of politicians to make efforts toward positive change.
hr h2Call for a greener worldh2
During the summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among many that urged the worldand’s transportation ministers to speed up their efforts at finding new solutions to more effectively combat climate change.
In his televised message during the opening session of the annual meeting of transport ministers during the Social Travel Summit in the German city of Leipzig, Ban said, and”It is time to reshape the worldand’s transport systems for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.and” Ban underlined the significance of sustainable transport, noting that this concept will work like and”a common threadand” connecting the UN Summit in September in New York –an international attempt to define the post-2015 development agenda for major climate issues — and the COP21 climate change conference in Paris in December. The Paris event will convene government members from all around the world to discuss taking urgent and concrete actions to stem global warming and mitigate its hazardous impact on the global climate.
hr h2Connecting the world through landh2
A panel session titled and”Crossing continents: How new routes and technology can improve surface transport,and” provided in-depth analyses as to what role the new long-distance surface freight transport, especially rail, can play and the possibility of connecting it to other modes of transportation to reach optimum efficiency.
The Silk Road Project led by China to connect Asia and Europe, while providing an opportunity for landlocked countries to reach out to global markets directly, is an example of this newly rising trend. Turkey also has the potential to establish a hub in a grand network of freight transport — recently brought to the nationand’s agenda by an election commitment of the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP). The Center Turkey project aims to create a city in Anatolia to connect major trade routes and serve traders as a logistics hub where they can store their products to be distributed to their markets on demand, saving great time and getting rid of much of their costs.
Freight volumes, at the current pace, are estimated to increase 400 percent by 2050 and will occur at the same time as a shift in global trade from Europe and the US to Asian markets. China and India are rapidly rising as economic powerhouses. Pravin Krishna, professor of international economics and business at John Hopkins University, underlined this fact in his keynote address during a panel session titled and”Transport, Trade and Tourism: Mobility for a Connected World,and” by saying that there are over 400 million people in India under age 15 and that 1 million youths are joining the workforce every month. Chinaand’s situation has been more or less the same, excluding the fact that it has been able to stem its population growth extensively with its one-child policy. Krishna, an economist who also provides consulting for the World Bank, said it still needs further exploration whether the existing trade routes are flexible enough to embrace this change in the nature of global trade and population mobilization on a large scale. Indeed, emerging countries, especially those with large populations, are experiencing social transformations their Europeans counterparts went through over the course of centuries in just a few decades without waiting for their infrastructure to match the pace.
Angel Gurria, the secretary general of the OECD, also delivered a speech during the same panel and stressed the importance of trade as and”one of the cylinders of the growth engine.and” The world economy has been growing about 4 percent per year for some time but this is far from its actual potential, said Gurria, who claimed that it should have been twice as much as the current rate. But putting all the weight on trade to stir this potential may not be enough, he noted, pointing his finger to the other two Tand’s — tourism and transport. The environment cannot be traded off just for the sake of further growth, he added.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman