The Future of Transport by 2050

The Russian  plenary session of the Strategic Partnership business forum was dedicated to the transport infrastructure of the world.How do experts see the world of transportation in 35 years.

The strategic planning of rail transport for many years to come is an interesting journey into the future. This is probably why the organizers opened the plenary session by broadcasting an interview with science fiction writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, the author of the utopian novel Future, in which the world overpopulated by ageless people turned into a giant metropolis, consisting of towers, moving between them using high-speed trains, every minute leaving from huge hubs … Actually, the idea is interesting, but it is quite far from the picture that transport specialists, railway workers and scientists imagine . 

Indeed, according to Russian Railways vice-president Alexander Misharin, by 2050, the speed of 400 km / h, to which the first Russian high-speed train Moscow-Kazan will accelerate in a few years, will no longer be enough. People will need trains that will accelerate to 600 km / h, or even up to 800 km / h. 

“In fact, the distance between cities will be measured very soon, not in kilometers, but in hours. And rails in 35 years will look very different,” Misharin shared his view of the future. So, already now transport systems of roads operating on the principle of levitation are seriously considered – so, there are already plans to move containers in this way. Hybrid road systems are also being developed. And the most important factor determining the development of transport infrastructure, according to the vice-president of Russian Railways, will be the environment – that is, the maximum reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. 

Freight flows will also change. So, according to Misharin, the development of technology, for example, 3D printing, will seriously change both the direction in which the cargo will go and the volume of cargo itself. Moreover, both that and that will be reduced. But we should expect territorial redistribution throughout the world as a whole and in Russia in particular. 

So, for example, now the central cities of Siberia – Omsk, Novosibirsk, Barnaul and Krasnoyarsk – are at a distance that does not contribute to the integrated development of these cities, but with an increase in the speed of trains, they will literally become closer to each other, which will allow to develop this area in economic terms. According to Misharin, if the speed of movement between cities remains at the level of 100 km / h, then they will simply die out, so it is necessary to develop this territory and add the Far East to the program. 

Meanwhile, the reality is that in the near future, Kamchatka will also be connected with large land by new lines of railway communication with the possible extension of this road to Alaska. The general director of the Institute of Economics and Transport Development Fyodor Pekhterev told the audience about this. 

“This line will fundamentally change the configuration of commodity flows. Many countries will join here – Canada, USA, Mexico,” Pekhterev outlined the picture of the future. 

Also, in his opinion, by 2050 the dream of railway workers and scientists about the complete separation of freight and passenger traffic in separate ways should be realized. 

Speaking about the future, it is necessary to take into account the population of the planet. Thus, according to experts, approximately 9.5 billion people will live on Earth by 2050, and due to global urbanization, most of them will be citizens. At the same time, according to Dmitry Kovalev, partner of PwC in Russia, traffic flows to the USA, Japan, Canada, a number of European countries will decline, and will increase significantly in Russia, China, India, Brazil and a number of other developing countries. 

And yet, why do experts talk about the movement of passenger flows in the context of the development of railway transport? The answer to this question, according to forum participants, lies on the surface: the first is, of course, the environment, and the second is overpopulation.

It is quite difficult to imagine a road in 30 lanes along which environmentally friendly cars are flown that do not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So in this regard, the future is really for the railways. (TASS/ )

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