The Bartlett School of Planning


Transport Futures: Thinking the Unthinkable

Transport Futures: Thinking the Unthinkable

4 September 2012

David Banister, Robin Hickman (2012), Transport Policy, online 20 August

It is becoming increasingly important to think about longer term possibilities and directions that are trend breaking and can help anticipate the unexpected. The future is perhaps becoming less certain, or at least uncertainty is a central feature of future trajectories. This paper discusses the role that different types of scenarios can play in helping derive potential transport futures – including issues of possibility, plausibility and desirability – giving examples of each. It then contextualises the scenarios, emphasising the need for the longer view, the importance of decarbonising the economy, and in engaging decisions makers at all levels in a fully participatory process to confront the need for strong action on mitigation and adaptation.

This is illustrated with an example from Delhi to demonstrate some of the recent developments and applications of these principles. Finally, some comments are made on the issues relating to improving our understanding of sustainability, and the difficulty of making radical changes to individual and societal values, and to travel behaviours, often requiring immediate and large scale actions.

read on-line