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Disruption Ahead: Will Future Transport Systems Benefit Society Or Drive It Apart?

A transport revolution in our cities is under way. Ride-sharing schemes, driverless cars and electric vehicles look set to bring us all kinds of benefits, such as lower pollution, faster flowing traffic and fewer accidents.

But these benefits won’t just fall into our laps. What will we have to do to ensure that we reap the rewards of these changes and avoid potential pitfalls? Will technological change bring us closer together as a society or drive us further apart? Will we the consumers be the ones who make the all-important decisions, or will we be at the mercy of the tech and car companies and the policy-makers? And will these decisions actually result in a lower carbon future? There’s a lot of excitement about the future of cars: will people be prepared to give up the independence of the privately owned vehicle and use hailing schemes? Given that a total switchover to electric vehicles is unlikely to happen within the next ten years, how will a mix of vehicles on our streets affect the way we live? And is all this talk about cars a distraction from much needed investment in public transport?

We were joined by author, journalist and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, Jamie Bartlett; Uber's Head of Cities in the UK and Ireland, Fred Jones; creative technologist at the open innovation consultancy company Five by Five, Eugena Ossi; and journalist, author, and railway historian, Christian Wolmar. The debate was chaired by broadcaster Edith Bowman.

You can continue the conversation online using #makethefuture.

2018-03-16 00:00:00 UTC

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