Visioning

Pick a subject, any subject. OK, transport it is.

Vision a World without personally-owned cars. Not nice? What if we all had an app which could call up a clean, autonomous car of a brand we demand to take us places at 100mph with no driving, no accidents, no traffic jams and no parking. Is it sounding better yet?

We need to offer better. Major industries have to close down, so we need to imagine and plan for others. We will need to re-imagine the World of work. Take universities.

Academics love to travel to conferences, or their research scores and funding will suffer. Foreign students love to travel to Scottish universities for the different style of education. Both will have to end in their present form. Do we look at boring more-efficient this planes, curtailing academics’ rights to travel, or lose the students? More efficient anything leads to greater demand so is not a solution. It’s Jevon’s Paradox and is why new motorways quickly clog up, and cheaper more efficient aeroplanes mean more people travel.

We can’t tinker like this. Changing the transport system means wholesale change. Cars are used on average 5% of their time, and one third of the environmental cost of a car’s ‘life’ is in its manufacture, so the less of them the better. Shared, but personal use, transport gets rid of a lot of cars and roads and motorways.

Less roads and less pollution beenfits everyone, especially poorer people and minority ethnic people lviing near roads, which might not now be needed.

Think about work – if we have no aeroplanes we must travel by ship, but sailing ships. Such ships exist. Travel will be slower, but more pleasant. Students coming to that university will spend time improving their language skills and starting courses. Academics will take longer over trips but could take families and include a holiday. Quality of life, of teaching, or travelling all improves.

We must always vision better.

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