There have been large discrepancies between forecasts of travel demand and outcomes in industrialised countries in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. The paper identifies how we can better anticipate travel transitions to inform expectations about future travel demand and policy making and planning. It is apparent from the travel transitions reviewed in this paper that the evolution of travel patterns is the product of a highly complex, dynamic system that to be understood requires looking at wider changes to the socio-economic system and to transport and telecommunications, as well as looking at trends in travel preferences and patterns. It is recommended that scanning exercises are employed looking at either ‘end of the telescope’: (1) Vigilantly monitoring trends in travel preferences and patterns and investigating trend-breaks even where they only show up for a short, sustained period and (2) Scanning social developments (including those in transport and telecommunications options) and constructing hypotheses for how they may affect travel preferences and behaviour which can be investigated in carefully designed research studies. This is not just a case of being responsive to external developments – a better appreciation of responsiveness of travel patterns to the ‘wider system’ will also give important clues as to how top-level policy goals can be achieved by bringing in policies that ‘go with the grain’. Anticipating urban travel transitions and new mobility behaviours will support vision-led policy making to address the challenges of the age.
Chatterjee, K. (2020). Anticipating urban travel transitions and new mobility behaviours. Discussion Paper prepared for ITF Working Group on Urban Travel Transitions in light of Covid-19