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A vision of the 2030s

A complex, dynamic and connected transport system will be critical for our economy and society, from moving people for work and leisure and goods as part of a supply chain.

Future transport solutions will be faster, safer, inclusive and convenient, and new mobility options will address the demands of an ageing population, rural areas and disabled people. 

Sustainable propulsion methods will be needed to support the net-zero carbon target, with a significant infrastructure investment needed to encourage adoption of new technology.

Advances in artificial intelligence, digital and sensing technologies will transform the management and integration of the transport landscape. 

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What does this mean for transport?

Mobility - Transport options will increase for all, especially for the ageing population and those living in rural areas, as public perceptions and attitudes towards personal travel change.

Measurement will provide logistical and environmental data to influence consumer transport choices.

Examples include: micromobility (small, lightweight, battery operated personal transport), personal air transport, integrated information systems.

Automation - Personal and goods transport systems will be automated as safety, efficiency, convenience and speed become more important.

Measurement will enable AI and machine learning algorithms to operate interconnected and interoperable modes of transport through seamless and secure transmission of data.

Examples include: location tracking and timestamping, road trains, automated drones, advances in interface security and infrastructure resilience, new airspace regulations for drones, validated and reliable multi-scale and multi-level models of our transport systems,  advances in model-based decision-making.

Innovation - Technology will enable new modes of sustainable transport to become mainstream. 

Measurement will enable test and validation of products and materials, and the development of agile regulations. 

Examples include: frictionless drive (maglev), evacuated tube-based mass transport (hyperloop), robust operation of national and international airspace regulations; wireless charging; reliability and re-usability of space craft, new materials for tyres and road surfaces. 

Decarbonisation - The electrification of our transport will continue at a faster pace, driven by the need to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. 

Measurement will help optimise the manufacture and recycling of batteries, and the adoption of alternative, less-polluting, natural and synthetic fuels and additives.

Examples include: rare-earth element recovery and recycling, novel electric propulsion technologies including those with no moving parts, hybrid-electric engines which can function with multiple fuel sources (such as hydrogen, ammonia, ethanol and novel bio-fuels derived from algae), safe methods of nuclear-powered propulsion.

Ownership - Operating and ownership models of individual transport will become service-based (servitisation) which will significantly reduce running and maintenance costs.

Measurement will enable management of integrated energy storage and a smart national charging grid.

Measurement will support consumer choice and the economics of new operating models.

Examples include: shared use of vehicles, battery-swapping points replacing recharging stations, regulations to overcome non-proprietary technology-sharing challenges.


Transport: implications for measurement

Metrology, or the science of measurement, is about more than the routine making of measurements, it’s about the infrastructure that ensures that we have confidence in the accuracy of the measurement or the adoption of technology. Foresighting has highlighted technological trends for metrology based on our vision for transport:

  • Open-access, traceable and verified environmental impact data will influence customer choice.

  • Advanced, robust and connected sensors will enable performance monitoring of safety critical components, even in extreme environments.

  • Analysis of complex systems will enable truly smart transport systems and infrastructure.

Discover more about The future of metrology

Other industries

Discover our vision for the 2030s.

More information

Find out more about Technology and Measurement Foresighting.

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