Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies

Are we sleepwalking into a radically different local passenger transport future?

Dr Marcus Enoch, School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, UK

8th Apr 2014  11:00 am - Lecture Theatre 2 (Room 112), Level 1, St James Campus, The University of Sydney, 173-175 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW 2000


The world is changing faster than ever. Yet a core assumption made by most people - transport policy makers and practitioners included - is that cars, buses and taxis will remain as the dominant local passenger transport modes in the coming decades. This discussion paper draws on a range of literature sources and on discussions with industry leaders to look anew at the local passenger transport sector in the light of broader societal trends to challenge this assumption, and to offer some insights as to possible implications for practice and policy.> The paper finds that significant changes are already occurring in how transport services are being provided. Thus, the traditional modes of car, bus and taxi are already beginning to lose market share to a range of 'new' intermediate modes - e.g. shared taxis, lift sharing schemes, DRT services and car clubs. Meanwhile a whole range of societal trends - e.g. the global recession, growth in smart phones, attitudes to collaborative consumption, increasing proportion of elderly people - are combining such that this process of 'modal convergence' is accelerating. In effect, cars, buses and taxis are gradually morphing into a single mode that is of better quality than the bus, cheaper than a taxi, and does not require one to buy the vehicle as with a car. In addition, rapid developments in autonomous car technology are proceeding apace. Taken together then, these trends threaten a revolution in how we move about, potentially within a relatively short space of time. Particular challenges for policy makers and practitioners will include public resistance to the idea, economic issues over who would pay and how this would be done, and the effect on social groups and the environment.


Dr Marcus Enoch was appointed as a lecturer in Transport Studies in the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University in January 2003 and has been a senior lecturer since May 2007. Prior to that he was a research fellow at the Open University for four years, and before that he was a news and features writer for the professional journal Local Transport Today.

In research terms, Dr Enoch has an interest in sustainable transport systems - specifically in how they are designed, implemented, and operated and in how they could be improved. He has published more than 100 articles - including two research monographs, 42 peer reviewed academic journal contributions and ten book chapters - and presented more than 80 international conference papers.