Disruptive Technology Effects for Transport in London

Disruptive Technology Effects for Transport in London

Home / News | posted on 24 03 2017

A new report from The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) explores the emergence of disruptive technologies, leaving London on the cusp of major changes to the way in which people move around the city.

While London's road transport is of foundational importance to the city's communities and economies, it causes a number of major problems. In 2010, the equivalent of 9,416 deaths were attributed to air pollution, and congestion exacted an estimated economic cost of £5.5 billion. This is the result of the type of transport modes available to Londoners, how they are used, and the systems that determine transport priorities. As such, one of the primary methods of reducing transport related problems in London is the unprecedented modal shift towards more sustainable forms of transport that has occurred over the last decade or so. In that time, digital technology has enabled the development of new transport services, including journey planners, car clubs and on-demand private hire. These new mobility services could interact within London's transport system to deliver positive network effects, including complementing efforts to enable more public and active transport, and so allow for an unprecedented opportunity to overcome negative outcomes, such as air pollution and congestion, and to improve the city's spaces and Londoners lives. Evidence suggests that some of these services are already having a tangible positive effect, as, for example, is the case of car clubs, which are unlocking more sustainable travelling behaviours. Conversely, concerns exist over the potential for negative network effects that undermine the ongoing move toward more sustainable behaviour. London is at a tipping point and needs to decide how to react to these changes. Indeed, the pace and reach of technological change is such that a window of opportunity currently exists in which action can be taken by London's government to ensure the positive potential of these services is realised. The chance of negative path dependency is intolerably high without action in this term.

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