Future Scenarios
Global Transport Scenarios 2050

By Energy Council, 2011

In a world with such critical drivers and uncertainties, binding constraints, and unravelling responses, the transport and mobility team has mapped out two potential scenarios for global transport, called “Freeway” and “Tollway".

  • Freeway: envisages a world where market forces prevail to create a climate for open global competition, higher levels of privatization, deregulation, and liberalization. It also stimulates the role of the private sector, entrepreneurs and global companies.This scenario yields more individual transport solutions that are more short-term and lacking wide perspectives. Evidently, higher economic growth results in more vehicle ownership and increased traffic and freight movement, especially in eastern markets.
  • Tollway: is as a regulated world where governments and prominent politicians decide to put common interests at the forefront and intervene in markets. This scenario has a stronger emphasis on public transportation, and solutions are more long term with a wider perspective. Shipping, aviation, rail, and trucking have lower growth rates, because of lower economic growth. However, HSR networks penetrate on a larger scale, especially in the second half of the scenario period. Car-ownerships rates are lower as people rely more on public transportation systems.

 Download Global Transport Scenarios 2050 report

ORIGAMI Scenarios 2030

By MCRIT, TRI Napier, MKM et al., 2012

ORIGAMI developed medium and long-term scenarios through modelling, forecasting and analysing factors influencing transport and travel behaviour. The scenarios were based on those presented by the Impact Assessment report of the transport White Paper, and conceived to support the discussion about the level to which the passenger long-distance transport sector can contribute to the objectives set by the 2011 transport White Paper and the EU2020 strategy. They considered alternative visions to promote co-modality through more or less strict market regulations, at national and European level, by applying alternative planning and public investment strategies, and public-private partnerships.

 Download ORIGAMI Scenarios 2030 

The Future of Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistics

By European Parliament, 2010

The publication covers issues that were presented and discussed in a workshop on 'The Future of Transport' held in the European Parliament on 2 December 2009. Sustainability in freight use may well be harder to achieve than for passenger transport, partly due to the lack of innovation in more sustainable freight transport modes. It is concluded that, apart from the more conventional options for improving freight and logistics sustainability, radically new modes and the Implementation of alternative economic and business models, such as a retreat from globalisation, are considered possible but unlikely.

 Download The Future of Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistics

A Sustainable Future for Transport

By European Commission, 2009

This publication provided the ground for the 2011 White Paper: Roadmap towards a Single Transport Area. Starting from a review of transport policy in the first decade of the century the publication elaborates on trends, challenges and policy objectives, and derives from these policies for sustainable transport in the medium to long run.

 Download Sustainable Future for Transport


By Fraunhofer-ISI et al., 2012

The project aimed at developing an integrated European strategy that links R&D efforts with other policies and measures to achieve substantial GHG emission reductions in transport that are in line with the overall targets of the EU. As part of this strategy, the project proposed GHG reduction targets for transport as a whole as well as for each transport mode for 2020 and 2050.

 Go to GHG-TransPoRD project website
 Download the GHG-TransPoRD Final Report

Future of Mobility Roadmap - Ways to Reduce Emissions While Keeping Mobile

By King, D. (ed.), Inderwildi, O., Oxford University, 2010

The study has investigated technical as well as behavioural measures to reduce carbon emissions from transport for the UK until 2050. It concludes that new propulsion and fuel technologies need to be supported by a shift of users to less polluting modes, that infrastructure investments are crucial and that a combination of physical, soft and knowledge policies must be applied within an integrated framework to direct consumers to low-carbon transport modes.

 Download Future of Mobility Roadmap - Ways to Reduce Emissions While Keeping Mobile

EU Transport GHG: Routes to 2050

By AEA Technologies, CE Delft, ISI, and Milieu for EC DG-KLIMA, 2012

The aim of the project was to identify the GHG reductions that might be achieved from all modes of transport by 2050 and the policy instruments that might be required. The latter were developed by a backcasting process taking into account risks and uncertainties. While most technologies appear to raise the risk of increasing GHG emissions, personal Rapid Transit systems appear to be one of the few options that might offer significant reduction potential, albeit for a limited part of the transport market. A range of non-technical options that could be taken up across all of the modes should be implemented.

 Download EU Transport GHG: Routes to 2050

Railway Scenarios, Including One From Hell

By Dave van der Meulen / Managing Member / Railway Corporate Strategy CC, July 2011

At the recent Railways & Harbours 2011 Conference, the author presented a range of railway scenarios redicated on two drivers, standard gauging and private participation. On the premise that one may categorise the strength of each driver as none or sufficient, one can picture four basic scenarios.

These four sub-scenarios are revitalising railways around the world, in countries where at least one of them has been implemented.

  • Moribund Railways: no standard gauging and no private participation. It represents the status quo: Without meaningful intervention, railways will continue to decline until they become utterly irrelevant.
  • Unstable Railways: no standard gauging but sufficient private participation. It represents sufficient private participation to release private sector business efficiency. However, such interventions in narrow gauge railways around the world have commonly failed to attract or generate capital investment other than donations. There is high probability that outcomes will miss expectations, and low probability that they will be reversible.
  • Neverland: no private participation but sufficient standard gauging. Despite potential to become highly competitive, state ownership desensitises such railways to opportunities for positioning themselves competitively, and they fall short of fulfilling the role they should play.
  • Renascent Railways: the last scenario, sufficient standard gauging and sufficient private participation. It comprises four sub-scenarios. In the freight sector, it features heavy-haul and heavy intermodal, or container double-stacking. In the passenger sector, it features urban rail and high-speed intercity.

 Download Railway Scenarios, Including One From Hell report

Exploring Rail Futures Using Scenarios

By Stephen Potter, January 2007

The following are edited versions of the four scenarios as they were presented in the briefing paper to the 1995 Royal Society conference speakers. Following a brainstorming workshop held before the conference, the scenarios were built around four alternative market approaches: cost; new technologies; quality and environment. The report of the conference (Smith et al, 1995) details the work that stemmed from these scenarios, but this paper concentrates on the development of the scenarios themselves and their use in transport research. Although the scenario exercise covered both passenger and freight, this paper contains only the work on the passenger market.

  • Cost­driven Scenario: it is based on the assumption that cost­ reduction will dominate the requirements for rail science and technology. Cost reduction had been a major focus for British Rail for at least the last decade of its existence. This scenario is based on examining where science and technology could address major  cost drivers in rail operations. Savings based on science and technology (or other).
  • Technology­driven Scenario: it is based on the assumption that market opportunities for railways could be opened up through major technological innovations (although cost and value for money relative to other transport modes cannot be ignored).
  • Quality­driven Scenario: This scenario assumes that market opportunities could be opened through an emphasis on high levels of reliability, safety, comfort, ride, in­train services and information systems. Quality has tended to be treated as something that applies more to business class travel than the more 'price oriented' other categories. Probably the most important determinant of perceived quality is providing rail customers with a high quality ‘familiar’ environment during their journey.
  • Environmentally­driven Scenario: This scenario focuses upon an external policy context which could have major implications for the shaping of the future market for rail.

 Download Exploring Rail Futures Using Scenarios report

Our Railway’s Future

By Tim O’Toole and Rick Haythornthwaite

Forum for the Future worked with Network Rail to develop scenarios which imagined the future of the UK railway. These were developed as creative stimulus for a series of public engagementworkshops in early 2012. We began by identifying external drivers of change over which there is likely to be more uncertainty than over operational factors within the rail industry. We then analysed how these drivers might impact transport and, in particular, rail travel in the UK.

  • Scenario 1 "City hubs": The railway is in good shape – with good connections across the country. Investment in commuting and intercity routes means it’s easy to get from one city hub to another, with frequent services. Many rural services remain, with further options created by new commuting towns. Demand is high across the country, so trains are crowded. Punctuality is good but not perfect. The train WiFi is 100% reliable. More than 75% of the railway in the UK has been successfully electrified, and high fuel prices and carbon taxes mean that the public are increasingly turning to rail as the cheapest mode oftransport. Getting to suburbs on trains is easy enough, and there is more commuter traffic in and out of cities across the country. But on small countryside routes where rail links were not as economically viable, the network hasn’t grown.
  • Scenario 2 "Local communities": For many people more working from home and less travel. There’s more reliance on local communities. Train services are very limited. The network has been scaled back and there are fewer trains. There’s less overcrowding but on fewer services. With little more than essential maintenance, there are more delays. Funding for rail remains elusive and any available investment goes towards improving routes to London. Operator standards are dropping, and there have been cuts to many rural rail services. 
  • Scenario 3 "London - global hub": Economic growth has been modest. Prosperity is focused on London. As a result, more people are moving to the South East – as it’s the place to be successful. London grows as a global hub for business and culture but the economic divide has grown, creating a two-tier Britain.While main intercity routes still function satisfactorily, unprofitable routes have been reduced or closed down and any available funds put into bus services. There are many “save our station” campaigns, and the closure of stations outside of the South East is blamed on the increasing dominance of the capital. In the face of continued attempts to streamline railway and tube services, industrial action is common.

 Download Our Railway’s Future report

F3 to Sydney orbital link study

By Sinclair Knight Merz, April 2004

This Main Report presents the findings from the F3 to Sydney Orbital Link Study. The Study applied strategic analysis to the assessment of corridor types and feasible route options to determine an acceptable and preferred option which best satisfies National Highway objectives.

Chapter 6: Rail and Public Transport Scenarios

The likely outcomes of different future growth scenarios in rail for both passenger and freight services in the corridor are presented in this chapter. The growth scenarios tested were:

  • Scenario (A) No further investment in rail capacity enhancements: If there were no changes to rail services, and no road improvements in the corridor, morning peak hour rail passenger demand on the Main Northern railway line between the Central Coast and Berowra, would grow by up to 18% over the decade, ie to 2011. Forecast growth is expected to be 1 – 2% pa, ie about 18% over 10 years. After 2011, under this scenario, passenger growth would not be satisfied by rail and some passengers would use their cars and the F3.Existing rail freight services could continue its long term trend, which would result in rail losing market share of general freight, with the consequent shift to road and the F3.
  • Scenario (B) Rail enhancements to maintain rail’s current market share, passenger and freight. This is the Base Case: To achieve current market share in passenger and freight services would require RailCorp to invest significantly in the corridor in keeping with Transport 2010 proposals and this study’s Base Case infrastructure improvement assumptions. 
  • Scenario (C) Significant investment in rail to increase rail’s market share, passengers and freight: To increase rail’s freight market share would require growth beyond 3% pa. This is possible provided substantial network-wide capacity enhancements are introduced from 2011 onwards. To test the effects of such an improvement, this study assumed a market share of 23% could be reached by 2021, ie an average growth rate of 6% pa to 2021. Such an investment would provide the necessary access for freight trains to gain a 22 hour a day service in the corridor from 2021.
  • Scenario (D) A fourth scenario was tested called the “Public Transport Only Option” which replaced the investment in the new link with a new passenger rail service to western Sydney in addition to Scenario (C): A scenario was tested which advanced the proposed rail improvements in Transport 2010 by 10 years. Additional rail services from the Central Coast to western Sydney by 2010 were assumed in place of a new National Highway link.

 Download F3 to Sydeny orbital link study report

High Speed Rail Strategic Alternatives Study: Strategic Alternatives to the Proposed ‘Y’ Network

By Atkins, Feburary 2011

The main objective of HS2 Ltd in 2009 was to consider the case for new high speed services between London and the West Midlands. In the intervening period HS2 Ltd has been examining options for extending the original HS2 proposals to the West Midlands through to Manchester and Leeds, the so-called ‘Y’-shaped network. The Department, therefore, has been considering conventional rail alternatives to the proposed High Speed network currently under development by HS2 Ltd. The purpose of DfT’s work is to understand whether there are conventional rail alternatives to the proposed ‘Y’ high speed rail network between London and Manchester and Leeds which could deliver additional long distance capacity and reduced journey times, and to assess their deliverability and value for money.
The strategic rail interventions identified by DfT as potential alternatives to the proposed ‘Y’ high speed rail network between London and Manchester and Leeds.

In this section we detail the strategic rail intervention packages identiied by DfT for analysis in the study. The packages can be:

  • Scenario A: Increasing long distance passenger capacity by extending length of existing long distance services, requiring works including platform lengthening, track remodelling and depot works to cater for longer trains and more vehicles.
  • Scenario B: Increasing passenger capacity and enhancing long distance service frequency, requiring works to operate a higher frequency of services, including upgrades to stations and junctions, and additional tracks.
  • Scenario C: Combined passenger capacity enhancement and reduced journey times on long distance services, including construction of some new alignments to bypass sections with low linespeeds and limited capacity.

 Download High Speed Rail Strategic Alternatives Study report

Final report scenarios, traffic forecasts and analysis of traffic flows including countries neighbouring the european union

By NEA Transport research and training, December 2005

This is the final report of the project “Scenarios, traffic forecasts and analysis of traffic flows including countries neighbouring the European Union: (EUN STAT).

In this study, this countries are subdivided into three “country groups”:

- Countries which have been considered in previous studies and for which the status of data availability and transport modelling is at the same level as for EU countries (Switzerland, Norway) 

- Countries for which the status of data availability is lower than for EU countries, their transport flows were in the scope of transport modelling for previous EU studies like TEN-STAC (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYROM, Moldova, Russia (Western part), Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, as well as the European part of Turkey)

- Countries which have not been in the scope of the consortium’s transport modelling system to the extension of countries belonging

There are two scenarios considered for estimating the trade, transport and traffic flows for year 2020. The main assumptions for scenarios are as follows:

  • Reference scenario: basic socio-economic trends as considered in the TEN-STAC study, and as recommended by the PRIMES project; full implementation of infrastructure projects, as provided by DG-TREN.
  • Scenario 2: extra economic growth for the Neighbouring countries, up to maximum 6% annual growth of the GDP; full implementation of infrastructure projects, as provided by DG-TREN.

 Download Final report scenarios, traffic forecasts and analysis of traffic flows and analysis fo traffic flows report

A transport scenario for europe until 2050 in a 2-degree world

By SCHADE, Wolfgang; HELFRICH, Nicki; PETERS, Anja, July 2010

In its 4th Assessment Report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that the risk of climate change with temperature increases of 4-5°C until 2100 has grown substantially and recommends strong actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) until 2020.Though world leaders struggle to define a short-term Post-Kyoto policy to reach this goal, they agree that until 2050 the industrialised countries should reduce their GHG emissions by -70% to -80% compared with 1990. Transport in Europe is currently emitting about 23% of all GHG and 27% of CO2.

In this report, three transport scenarios for the EU27 until 2050 are presented:

  • Reference Scenario: describes a world which is facing an increase of global average temperature by +4-degree Celsius by 2100 compared with pre-industrial levels. With such an increase of temperature the energy system will react which is considered by the ADAM-HMS.
  • 2-Degree Scenario: is developed in two variants reflecting the uncertainty about with which level of CO2 eq. concentrations the increase of temperature can actually be limited to 2-degree Celsius until 2100. The two variants represent (1) a concentration of 450 ppm CO2eq. in the long run and (2) a concentration of 400ppm CO2eq. of which the former would provide a 50% likelihood that the 2°C target is achieved and the latter a 70% likelihood. In the 2-Degree Scenarios after 2008 mitigation policies are implemented and climate change is successfully limited to +2°C, such that adaptation impacts to climate change remain very limited. 
The comparison between the Reference Scenario and the 2-Degree Scenarios then reveals the cost (or benefit) of mitigation policy.

 Download A Transport Scenario for europe until 2050 in a 2-degree world report

Rail training 2020. Training needs and offers in the European railway area the next 10 - 15 years

By Danish Technological Institute (DK); CAS (UK); Lloyds Register Rail Europe B.V. (NL), 2007

European railways are facing fundamental legal, technological, demographic and market changes that the railways need to deal with in the coming years. The creation of a European Railway Area through the integration of national rail systems is based on increased interoperability. However, interoperability is not only a technical issue, but also a question of ensuring that cross-border operations are not hampered by diverging national staff requirements and standards necessitating changing train drivers and crew every time a train crosses a border. The European train driver-licensing regime is thus an important step in facilitating cross-border operations.

"Rail Training 2020" proposes three scenarios. ECTS and liberalisation is used as the starting point for the first two scenarios.

  • Ronkedors in trouble: “Nerws finally on rails”. Kick-start the NERWS New European Railway Structure all across the European Union. Back then, only a few countries were implementing ECTS and each time you wanted to cross a border the train had to stop and staff had to be changed.
  • I’ll rather fly: “The exploding age bomb secured”. Develop a unified ticket system and new ways to make the trains run smoothly, quickly and on time
  • Costa del Oslo: “More trains than cars”. The decline of the car is one of the visible results of the 2008 Climate Conference in Copenhagen.

 Download Rail Training 2020 report

EC Energy and Transport Trends 2030

By National Technical University of Athens, 2007

The 2007 report provides an update of the “Trends to 2030” published in 2003 (and updated in 2005). The new “baseline” takes into account the high energy import price environment prevailing in recent years, steady economic growth and energy / environment policies and measures implemented in the Member States up to the end of 2006. The results were derived with the PRIMES model by a consortium led by the National Technical University of Athens, supported by some more specialised models. These projections to 2030 encompass energy demand, transformation, imports and production by fuel and sector. The report also gives, in the annex, a breakdown of the main energy and transport variables as well as energy related CO2 emissions for all 27 Member States

 Download EC Energy and Transport Trends 2030

iTREN-2030 - Integrated transport and energy baseline until 2030

By Fraunhofer-ISI et al., 2010

Launched in May 2007 under the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for research (FP6), iTREN 2030 introduced a modelling system to assess the likely future impacts of policies in the related fields of transport, energy and technology.

The project team created two scenarios.

  • A reference or ‘frozen policy’ scenario assumes that the socio-economic and policy environments across the EU remain much the same as at present.
  • An integrated scenario which takes into account the EU’s goals in relation to climate policy and the growing impacts of climate change, growing fossil fuel scarcity, and the introduction of new technologies to cope with these first two factors.

 Download the iTREN-2030 Final Report

ADAM Project - Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

By Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research et al., 2009

ADAM supports the EU in the development of post-2012 global climate policies, the definition of European mitigation policies to reach its 2020 goals, and the emergence of new adaptation policies for Europe with special attention to the role of extreme weather events.

The main impact of the ADAM project is to improve the quality and relevance of scientific and stakeholder contributions to the development and evaluation of climate change policy options within the European Commission. This will help the EU to deliver on its current medium-term climate policy objectives and help inform its development of a longer-term climate strategy.

 Go to ADAM project website
 Download the ADAM Final Report

Potential of modal shift to rail transport
By CE Delft and TRT, 2011

This study was commissioned by the Community of European Railways (CER) and concerns the potential for modal shift from road and air transport to rail. This study is potentially even more interesting, since the European Commission’s new White Paper on Transport cites modal shift as one of the key policies for the coming decades. In this study the potential for growth of rail transport in Europe has been investigated in three different ways as well as the potential reduction of CO2 emissions that this could deliver.

 Download the Potential of modal shift to rail transport report

Intelligent Infrastructure Futures. The Scenarios – Towards 2055

By Andrew Curry, Tony Hodgson, Rachel Kelnar and Alister Wilson for the Foresight Programme of the Office of Science & Technology of United Kingdom, 2006

The Foresight Project on Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (IIS) set out to examine the challenges and opportunities for the UK in bringing ‘intelligence’ to its infrastructure – the physical networks that deliver such services as transport, telecommunications, water and energy. In particular, the project explored how, over the next 50 years, we can apply science and technology to the design and implementation of intelligent infrastructure for robust, sustainable and safe transport, and its alternatives. The technological opportunities and social factors are such that IIS can develop in many different ways. The direction will depend on the direction that society takes. The Foresight project investigated many alternative futures and identified 60 different ‘drivers for change’. It is difficult to say how these drivers will change the future. However, to illustrate the possibilities, and guide its thinking and analysis, the project created four scenarios of how the future might look

These scenarios are listed below:

  • Perpetual Motion Scenario
  • Urban Colonies Scenario
  • Tribal Trading Scenario
  • Good Intentions Scenario

 Download the Intelligent Infrastructure Futures. The Scenarios – Towards 2055 Report

The Future of European long distance transport 2020

By Danish Board of Technology (Teknologirådet), 2008

During the past decades the European transport sector has been characterised by impressive increase in overall transport volume and by exceedingly growth rates in road and air transport. The European enlargement, expansions of the economy in modern societies and improvements of general standards of living are driving forces for the growth in both freight and passenger transport

There are three possible ways to reduce oil consumption and CO2 emission from long distance transport:

  • Decrease transport volumes, eg by spatial planning in order to prevent transport growth without jeopardizing citizens mobility, or by substituting transport with virtual mobility 
  • Shift to sustainable transport modes.
  • Transport efficiency, improve transport technologies and transport flows, Improving energy efficiency and carbon intensity

These different options have been investigated in two slightly different scenarios: 

  • John Scenario - Strong and rich High-Tech Europe, with focus on technologies
  • Maria Scenario - Slow and reflexive lifestyles, with focus on changing transport behaviour

 Download The Future of European long distance transport 2020

Trends and drivers of change in the EU transport and logistics sector (2017)

By European Monitoring Center on Change (EMCC) and European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2008

The study drew up four scenarios that project the possible future development of the transport and logistics sector between now and the year 2017. Scenarios depict plausible hypotheses about the future; thus, they are useful tools for forecasting, analysing and formulating policy, as well as for strategic planning in private companies and among the social partners. In a rapidly changing and complex world – where demand and supply change equally fast – planning for the future cannot rely on simple projections of past trends. Alternative views of the future can help to broaden the understanding of issues that need to be addressed today. Scenario methodology provides such alternative views by embracing the uncertainty inherent in the future.

See below the possible future scenarios outlined in the study:

  • Take the A-train Scenario
  • I’m in love with my car Scenario 
  • Riding the rainbow Scenario 
  • Moonlight ride in a diesel Scenario

 Download the Trends and drivers of change in the EU transport and logistics sector 2017