The future of mobility and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Are we really ready?

In October, PBA (now part of Stantec) teamed up with IEMA to host an event in Exeter exploring the future of mobility and transport. 

It concluded that an entirely new mindset is needed to respond to global megatrends of rapid urbanisation, climate change and technological breakthrough.

Delegates were introduced to PBA’s EV charging infrastructure concept (shortlisted at the recent IEMA awards), Foot Anstey’s Mobility Hub idea that would replace the need for car-dominated development, and the Met Office’s ideas on integrating weather forecasting into smart technology and meeting the challenges of exponential data storage needs. They also learned about the evolution of transport planning, and gained a public sector perspective from Devon County Council and South West Railway’s Sustainability Strategy.

While the spread of speakers resulted in a range of perspectives, there was consensus that a more proactive ethos is required when it comes to embracing new technology. Opportunities are developing exponentially compared to the rate at which new technology is being deployed. What is slowing things down, and what is the solution?

As an industry, we should be asking ‘what do we want to happen?’ rather than ‘what do we need to do to comply?’ These questions reflect the fact that policy is lagging behind technological advances. Industry, regulators and decision-makers will need to adopt a collaborative approach if we are to ensure equal financial access to grants and funding for a socially sustainable approach.  

Finally, at what point will the price of carbon take its true place as an influencer in decision-making? We’re on the right track, but there’s a long road ahead. Look out for similar events in the future.


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