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So Much Better

ÅF+Global Goals

We would like to paint you a picture of how we can achieve a sustainable transport environment, infrastructure and city in the future. Therefore, we have developed some scenarios, focused on people, society and businesses, and their perspectives on the transport system and the city. We have also looked at who is responsible and which factors influence the goals. To access the scenarios, click on each bullet in the black box.

Illustration: " Now, has anyone not grasped the seriousness of the UN’s new report on climate change?"

In 2015, the world saw both a new international climate agreement and the UN’s new sustainable development goals for the period 2016-2030. These targets present challenges for every one of us, in every country and at every level of society.

ÅF is taking on these challenges and is mobilizing its forces to demonstrate sustainable and innovative new solutions. Here, we interpret the UN’s sustainability goals and explain how they can affect tomorrow’s mobility and transports.

Fully sustainable – not just more sustainable

Today's consumption habits, transport systems and lack of ecocycle awareness cannot continue. If they should, the planet would most likely become uninhabitable within a few hundred years. It is not longer enough to avoid worsening the situation; we must now work to achieve real sustainability faster than ever before. We know that we have to make the change to fossil-free energy systems, materials that are part of the ecocycle, clean air and pure water. The question now is how to make this happen. Fully sustainable – not just more sustainable – is the watchword.

Global guidelines and goals for the years ahead

In 2000, the United Nations set the so-called Millennium Development Goals, intended to address the most pressing global problems, and around the same time it became apparent that climate change was an unavoidable fact, unless radical changes were made. In September 2015, the UN adopted new Global Goals, focused on solving these problems over the next 15 years. In December 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris set a new agenda, which was adopted by as many as 195 countries. The main objective is to limit global warming to less than 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Seven goals related to transport systems

In the new Global Goals, cities as well as transport systems have been given a prominent role for the first time. Of the 19 formulated goals, seven are directly related to transport systems, in cities as well as rural areas. The goals have been set and worded in a way that leaves no scope for individual interpretation, balancing of objectives or low ambitions. Most of the goals are instead absolute, clear, ambitious and measurable. This gives us a unique platform as we plan and implement the changes that must be made.

Holistic solutions

It is evident that the new global goals can only be achieved through new solutions, innovations and approaches. And it is equally evident that we no longer can think along old lines and view various attributes and goals as isolated entities. For the first time, we can grasp the true meaning of the term holistic solutions, ensuring that the every necessary goal is attained in parallel. In the future, transport systems will be quiet, clean, safe, fossil-free, efficient and attractive, all at the same time. Not only that: they will also take up less space, be conducive to health and be open and accessible to everyone.

Now is the time

We live at a time when technology, digitization and mobility are more important that ever before. Innovations within transportation and infrastructure have improved the conditions for mobility through the ages. This has contributed to greater accessibility and efficiency. The downside is a range of enormous environmental impacts and the creation of physical, social economic barriers that have resulted in an unsustainable society. We cannot continue to think along the same lines as we did 40 years ago, when cities and infrastructure were planned according to the needs of automobile traffic. Now is the time. There is still a chance to do something about this monumental problem, which affects us all, and will impact future generations, if nothing it done today.

Sweden’s transport policy objectives

Things are moving in the right direction and indicate that sustainability, particularly with regard to transport systems, has become a prioritized issue. The Swedish Parliament has decided on transport policy objectives that will steer measures and initiatives in the Swedish transport system. The Parliament’s overall objective for transport policy is to ‘ensure the economically efficient and sustainable provision of transport services for people and business throughout the country’. Aside from the overall objective, there are two more; the consideration objective and the functional objective, the latter encompassing accessibility, safety, environment and health. The functional objective states thatthe design, function and utilization of the transport system are to provide companies and people with a basic level of accessibility, of good quality and usability, and to contribute to the development potential of the entire country’. At the same time, this accessibility must take place within the framework of the consideration goal, i.e. environment, safety and health. It is likely, however, that the Swedish transport policy objectives will need to be reviewed in light of the UN’s Global Goals.

Mobile without an automobile

Oslo has set its sights on becoming car-free, which means that all private vehicles will be banned from the city centre by 2019. This change will increase demand for sustainable transport solutions for the 90,000 people who live outside central Oslo but work in the city. Furthermore, in Sweden, we can see that the city of Malmö aims to be the best at urban sustainability, primarily with respect to social sustainability, health equity and reduction of barriers. Malmö wants a society free from social and physical segregation. There is also a parallel trend, in that cars are starting to be seen as a service which can be reached via an app, making it possible to be mobile without owning a car.

Auto industry’s zero vision

Volvo Cars’ vision is that by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured in, or by, a new Volvo. Its long-term goal is to design crash-free cars. The same applies to Mercedes and Toyota.

From products to services

Cities, industries and service providers are starting to think in new directions, to see transports and accessibility as services, not products. Here we can harness the potential of automation, robotics, digitization and materials development and, together with new living patterns, create whole new solutions. Urbanization, corporate social responsibility, compact cities and the will to have access to but not own, in combination with technological advances, will give us clean, safe, healthy and attractive transport systems.

Illustrations: Magnus Bard