The results tell us that we will need to improve the traditional public transport system in the future too – and encourage more cycling and walking, Berge explains.
“New MaaS systems which are an integral part of the transport system could play a major role by making public transport more attractive, particularly for residents who need to travel to or from areas with limited access to public transport. In central areas too, it could make a big difference if the travel time is shorter than with today’s public transport.”
Endre Angelvik, director for mobility at Ruter, the public transportation company in the Oslo region, believes that the findings from the study provide very valuable knowledge for people working on urban development and mobility.
“We are moving rapidly into a future where new technological solutions could change both how we think about private transport and how we travel. We are pretty sure we will see more self-driving vehicles in our transport system in the near future, including in Oslo and Akershus. The question is how many of them, what impact they could have and how they could affect travel patterns and car use; that is why the study is so important,” says Angelvik.
Despite an increase in kilometres travelled, the number of cars can be reduced significantly, in a future where all vehicles are part of a shared fleet. In all the scenarios examined, the number of cars can be reduced by between 84 and 93 per cent.
In other words, we can manage with only 7 per cent of the number of cars on the roads today.
“This illustrates the potential for a radical reduction in the number of cars if we share cars and journeys. Previous studies have arrived at similar results, including the OECD’s Lisbon study,” says Berge.
He stresses that this will also bring changes to our cities: Multi-storey and underground car parking could become redundant and could be used for other things. The absence of parking requirements in development areas will reduce the costs of urban development projects.
“At the same time, there will be a need for new areas for passengers to get in and out of shared driverless vehicles. "We will need space and infrastructure to cater for this, particularly in busy central areas” says Berge.
This is one of the most complex analyses ever carried out on this topic anywhere in the world. The level of detail in the report is very high. It is interesting that Ruter is investing in this sort of analysis, says Berge.
“In the past, only large organisations like the OECD have done similar analyses and modelling exercises. The fact that, in Norway, this is now coming from a public transport company clearly shows that they want to take a leading role in the development of future mobility,” he goes on.
One of the most important discussion points going forward will be who is to deploy such MaaS solutions in Norway. Øystein Berge believes it will be vital to share data in order to optimise the systems and allocation of the cars – when they arrive.
“If companies keep information for themselves, the systems will not learn from each other and will not be able to provide optimal solutions.. The services will then be poorer – and so will the provision to travellers. Among other things, it could lead to increased waiting time.
"Driverless cars and MaaS concepts with a high degree of sharing will challenge the way we think about transport systems, infrastructure and urban development. This is certain – regardless of how soon the changes come” says Øystein Berge.
Download the full report here.