The challenge of mobility in the cities of tomorrow

The challenge of mobility in the cities of tomorrow

How does Urban Mobility look like in the cities of tomorrow? Why does Beijing need a different traffic concept than San Francisco? The Futures of Mobility project developed scenarios for 2030+.

Vehicles that take you direct to the 30th floor. Automated deliveries direct to your doorstep - whenever suits you best. Passenger drones that fly round traffic jams.

That could be the future shape of mobility in metropolitan cities. Everyday life for people living in a megacity is very different from daily life in a sparsely populated rural area. That is why demands on mobility also vary so much. The Volkswagen Group has developed several scenarios for the year of 2030+. With Futures of Mobility, it offers a tangible vision of the lives that the customers will lead in various regions of the world in the future. San Francisco, Beijing, Mumbai and eastern Saxony serve as representative examples for many other regions on the planet.

How many people will live in the cities of the future?

In 2050, around 80 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas – double the present figure. The impact of urbanisation on traffic will be felt in both urban areas and rural regions. The economic and political framework, cultural trends, environmental aspects and innovative strength also play a role. That means each type of city needs its own mobility solution.

What will happen to transportation?

Beijing, for example, will produce significant amounts of vertical growth, which is why vertical transportation is more important there. In contrast, San Francisco could give priority to adaptive vehicles – in other words, vehicles that modify themselves to a user’s needs and can become mobile offices or living rooms. In rural areas like eastern Saxony, shared mobility concepts could feature more prominently.

How can we manage this change?

With innovation. The Volkswagen Group has put together a team of around 200 experts in different fields from different geographical areas, known as “Group Future Heads�. They have brought their experience and knowledge to the Futures of Mobility project with which the Group is expanding its “mobility range�. Product, service and business models will no longer be segregated from one another. Instead they will be developed into a holistic mobility solution for our customers. This change is already partially underway, in the form of new drive technologies, new mobility services, or autonomous driving.

What will China’s role be?

Beijing is a megacity between traditional and modern: society is shaped by the political framework, but prosperity and education lay the foundation for a growing middle class, and individuality and sustainability are gaining in importance. As a result, demands on infrastructure, mobility, and safety are increasing. Moreover, the Beijing metropolitan region is becoming the urban development model for the China of the future, for four reasons: economy, mobility, innovation and environment.

Economy - Beijing is an ever-growing, attractive industrial location. China plans to strengthen its technology industry and industrial production over the coming ten years. An example? Some 70 percent of industrial robots, for example, are to be manufactured domestically. 

Mobility - By 2030, some 130 million people will be living in the Beijing metropolitan area – about 30 million more than today. That means an immense increase in traffic flows. High-speed trains will enable efficient transport. Today, China’s bullet train rail network is already longer than the European network. A further 7,000 kilometres are to be added by 2020. In addition, the government is planning to build 23 new subway lines by 2030.

Innovation - Beijingers are known to have a high affinity for new technologies. Not only that, but the region is also the most important player in the gigantic market for data collection and analysis. Furthermore, the government encourages forward-looking technologies and innovations to locate in the region.

Environment - Smog is a big problem in Beijing. Decisive action is being taken against air pollution in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Political restrictions such as e-mobility incentives and banning certain car models have already significantly improved air quality and the quality of life.

Source: Volkswagen AG

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