We have invited partners and participants in the Festival of the Future City to contribute articles on areas of work they are engaged in of relevance to the upcoming events. Shalando William is a Project Manager at First Bristol.
Keeping People Moving – The Role of Transport in Cities
Connectivity and accessibility are essential to the growth and prosperity of our cities and communities. Transport is a vital engine of growth connecting people and places to jobs, education, housing, and commercial enterprises, as well as goods and services to businesses. Thus urban transport networks that meet the mobility needs of people and businesses that is safe, reliable and sustainable is pivotal to the future of cities.
Cities face significant challenges in the future, which are likely to have important economic, environmental and societal implications. Rapid population growth and increasing urbanisation, congestion, greenhouse gas and local air emissions threaten the sustainability of local economies and the attractiveness of cities. More people in our cities means increasing demand to move around causing more congestion, emissions and pollution and more pressure on transport to provide mobility solutions that keep people moving and communities prospering both efficiently and sustainably in this increasingly congested world. The real question that arises then is what will happen if we continue to tackle these challenges with only traditional solutions, and how do we plan for interdependencies and unintended consequences?
New and Disruptive Thinking
It is extremely difficult to be certain in times of unprecedented change and thus collective visionary thinking is vital. An integrated approach that covers all aspects of a sustainable city including place making, green infrastructure, transport, housing, employment, skills and training, health etc. must be the way forward. Sharing practices and drawing on expertise and resources from different sections of the economy is needed to offer new perspectives to conventional wisdom, challenging the status quo of how things are done. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is recognised as counter intuitive.
The cities of tomorrow will need to be more adaptive to the challenges of the future with innovative thinking, processes, technology and solutions. This will create smarter and more agile ‘urban ecosystems’ for our cities, making them more sustainable and resilient.
Integrated smart systems for cities will need cleaner and more sustainable transport choices, integrated mobility and on demand systems that integrate all forms of public and shared transport into single service offers. Smart infrastructure like integrated interchanges and integrated journey planning will need to become a connected experience that is both seamless and intuitive not just within but also between cities. Integrated transport has a key role in enabling and powering a more connected, prosperous, greener and cleaner future for all.
The photograph above is an example of what a future with integrated transport choices could be like. First West of England has recently partnered with the City Car Club in Bristol to offer annual season ticket holders in Bristol, Bath and the West of England a years’ free standard membership to City Car Club and £80 worth of drive time (approximately two-days worth of car hire).