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The future mobility of the world population


  • Schafer, Andreas
  • Victor, David G.


On average a person spends 1.1Â h per day traveling and devotes a predictable fraction of income to travel. We show that these time and money budgets are stable over space and time and can be used for projecting future levels of mobility and transport mode. The fixed travel money budget requires that mobility rises nearly in proportion with income. Covering greater distances within the same fixed travel time budget requires that travelers shift to faster modes of transport. The choice of future transport modes is also constrained by path dependence because transport infrastructures change only slowly. In addition, demand for low-speed public transport is partially determined by urban population densities and land-use characteristics. We present a model that incorporates these constraints, which we use for projecting traffic volume and the share of the major motorized modes of transport--automobiles, buses, trains and high speed transport (mainly aircraft)--for 11 regions and the world through 2050. We project that by 2050 the average world citizen will travel as many kilometers as the average West European in 1990. The average American's mobility will rise by a factor of 2.6 by 2050, to 58,000 km/year. The average Indian travels 6000Â km/year by 2050, comparable with West European levels in the early 1970s. Today, world citizens move 23 billion km in total; by 2050 that figure grows to 105 billion.

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  • Schafer, Andreas & Victor, David G., 2000. "The future mobility of the world population," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 171-205, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:34:y:2000:i:3:p:171-205

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schafer, Andreas, 1998. "The global demand for motorized mobility," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 455-477, August.
    2. Vedantham, Anu & Oppenheimer, Michael, 1998. "Long-term scenarios for aviation: Demand and emissions of CO2 and NOx," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 625-641, July.
    3. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "The Rational Locator: Why Travel Times Have Remained Stable," Working Papers 199402, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
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