Will new mobility deliver sustainable transport for all? This was the agenda for the ‘Transforming Transportation Conference 2019’, held in Washington D.C. World leaders and experts met for a two-day summit to discuss the future of transportation. Emissions from transportation are the largest contributor to climate change. “Shifting transportation to rail logistics could reduce emissions by 75%”, says Kristalina Georgieva, Interim World Bank Group President and CEO.
New Mobility Technologies Available for Transforming Transportation
New mobility technologies, such as electric and hydrogen-powered trains, have the potential to change the face of today’s transportation sector. However, this is only environmentally friendly if electricity is generated ‘green’. An example of green transportation would be the new hydrogen-powered train by Alstom. This zero-emission train is designed for operation on non-electrified lines. It is powered by hydrogen fuel cell, enabling it to emit low levels of noise, with steam and condensed water as exhaust.
Urbanization and Infrastructure
While the developed world lives in the age of information, 1 billion people, especially in low and lower-middle-income countries, still lack basic access to proper infrastructure. This is a connectivity gap that rail transportation can bridge. It is an immense untapped market potential for the transportation and infrastructure industry. Restructuring is an important issue, particularly in those developing countries. According to the UN, these countries will see rapid urbanization in the coming decades. Smart rail and infrastructure can provide these countries with a solution to handle the projected, ever-increasing flow of people and cargo.
Governmental Responsibility and Incentives
Governments have a responsibility towards their citizens to reduce carbon emissions, air and noise pollution. While railways provide a clean alternative for these issues, governments should incentivize the use of rail transportation to reduce traffic congestions in urban areas and to end our reliance on fossil fuels. “Technology alone is not a solution. It must be accompanied by the right policies on mass transportation,” explains Makhtar Diop, Vice President, Infrastructure, World Bank.
Technology combined with the right policies can provide a comprehensive and long-term solution to the ever-growing transportation needs of our global economy. In my opinion, sustainable mobility is the future of transforming transportation.