Solving transport headaches in the cities of 2050

Here's an article I wrote for the BBC:

With global cities swelling and car use soaring, how will our existing transport systems cope? Ryan Chin at the MIT Media Lab looks at sustainable alternatives that we could see on the streets by 2050.

What is the future of urban mobility? By 2050 there could be 2.5bn cars roaming the planet and most of them will be concentrated in cities, the OECD has reported. Saudi Arabia, one of the world's top oil exporters, expects domestic consumption to exceed exports by that year purely to feed its internal needs for automotive fuel. Meanwhile, if Chinese levels of automobile ownership reach US levels (840 cars per 1,000 people), demand for oil in China alone will surpass present-day global oil production, management consultants McKinsey have reported. And climate scientists predict irreversible environmental damage with continued carbon emissions if we follow this "business as usual" attitude. But, we no longer need to rely on predictions to understand the magnitude of this future, we can simply need to visit Beijing to realise that, as science fiction author William Gibson said, "the future is already here – it's just not very evenly distributed".

MIT Media Lab CityCar (Image: William Lark, Jr.)