The Intelligent Infrastructure Futures report unveiled by the Government outlines various theoretical scenarios based on current technology and speculations on the future direction of society.
Among the visions of the future is a ‘Tribal Trading’ scenario that sees the world in a state of shock after a global recession resulting in mass unemployment.
Infrastructure is falling into disrepair and the world has shrunk into local communities, with transport largely consisting of bikes and horses.
Another – ‘Urban Colonies’ – looks at a society focused on minimising environmental impact, with transport only permitted if green and clean. Car use is restricted but public transport is efficient and widely used.
A third vision is a ‘Perpetual Motion’ world driven by constant information, consumption and competition, with high traffic volume and speed but low environmental impact. Much business travel is replaced by ‘telepresencing’ technology – a 3D advanced version of virtual reality.
The final ‘Good Intentions’ vision is one of a society held back by trying to satisfy all interests. Carbon emission reduction programmes constrain personal mobility and a tough national surveillance programme ensures people can only travel if they have sufficient carbon ‘points’.
Foresight, the Office of Science and Technology think tank, hopes the report will start a debate on where society wants future investment in transport to go.