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The Future of Mobility

The Future of Mobility: Scenarios for China in 2030

Liisa Ecola
Johanna Zmud
Kun Gu
Peter Phleps
Irene Feige
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    The Future of Mobility
    Book Description:

    Researchers developed two scenarios to envision the future of mobility in China in 2030. Economic growth, the presence of constraints on vehicle ownership and driving, and environmental conditions differentiate the scenarios. By making potential long-term mobility futures more vivid, the team sought to help decisionmakers at different levels of government and in the private sector better anticipate and prepare for change.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-9093-5
    Subjects: Transportation Studies, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. iii-iii)
    Markus Schramm and Irene Feige

    No market in the world is as impressive not only in size but also in uncertainty about its future perspectives as China. For example, economic growth has slowed down in the past years but is still high compared with that in other regions. Are we going to see those rates stabilizing at levels close to today’s rates, or will the next 20 years be shaped by a totally different economic situation in China? The gap between different possible economic future scenarios is extremely large, reflecting the tremendous insecurity in the market.

    But not only the economic situation is an important...

  3. Preface
    (pp. iv-v)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. viii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xv)
  7. Chapter One Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    China has grown at an astonishingly rapid pace since undertaking economic reforms in the late 1970s. That growth ushered in major changes that affect both local and long-distance travel: urbanization, higher incomes, and a building boom in transportation infrastructure across all modes. China is now the world’s largest producer and consumer of passenger vehicles. Vehicle ownership remains low by the standards of developed economies, yet congestion and parking problems are so severe in most municipalities that many cities have already introduced policies to constrain vehicle ownership. The increase in travel has also contributed to the country’s serious air-pollution problems, yet...

  8. Chapter Two Past Trends in Influencing Areas
    (pp. 13-23)

    Demographicsrefers to the statistical characteristics of a population. Although formal demography is generally limited to basic measures of population size and structure and their change over time, in this case, the research team cast a wider net. In addition to population, we dealt with regional geographic distribution and urbanization because these two trends have changed substantially in China in the past 20 years. In addition, these categories are closely linked to travel demand because of the income inequality that exists between rural and urban populations, as well as between different regions. Given that many of these changes have been...

  9. Chapter Three Key Drivers and Common Projections
    (pp. 25-33)

    Although similarities between the two scenarios exist, the key drivers that cause one path to emerge over another are the important elements for anticipating and preparing for change. We identify key drivers partly through the information in Figure A. 2 in Appendix A, which shows how active or passive each descriptor is. An active descriptor influences many other descriptors, while many descriptors influence a passive descriptor. Active descriptors are therefore more important in influencing the entire system. Additionally, in the process of writing the scenario narratives based on linking the descriptors and the reasons for the projections, we identified an...

  10. Chapter Four The Scenarios
    (pp. 35-59)

    China has experienced extremely rapid and sustained economic development over the past several decades. Beginning with the Reform and Opening Up Policy in 1978,² and the establishment of several Special Economic Zones in coastal cities in the early 1980s,³ the country’s overall wealth and per capita GDP grew by double digits over several decades. Much of this growth began with reforms in agriculture, which included a shift from collective land ownership to a household-based system and removal of price controls (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2010). This freed up rural laborers to migrate from their hometowns to coastal cities...

  11. Chapter Five Wild-Card Scenario
    (pp. 61-65)

    The central government tried to intervene to stave off the mounting debt ratio but instead precipitated a major financial crisis.

    It began with an effort to curtail lending by cities, whose indebtedness had reached USD 3 trillion by 2013 (Gough, 2013). The goal was to help deleverage the indebtedness of the economy, which had reached what most observers believed was a truly unsustainable level. However, instead of solving the debt problem, the government’s actions caused a full-blown financial crisis. A midsize city failed to meet a deadline for a loan payment, and the central government stuck by its 2014 statement...

  12. Chapter Six Implications of the Scenarios
    (pp. 67-71)

    The Chinese urban and transportation landscape has changed rapidly in the past few decades, and further changes are likely in store. Some might be continuations of past trends, but, in many cases, it would be difficult for past trends to continue, and the country might instead see a leveling off or even a decline. The scenarios explore several combinations of these potential patterns, as well as ways in which the policy responses at different levels of government contribute to these patterns.

    The Great Reset scenario assumes that, while economic growth slows from previous highs, growth remains fairly strong. The economy...

  13. Chapter Seven Conclusions
    (pp. 73-75)

    Our project sought to answer the question, “What might we expect for the future of mobility in China in 2030?” Knowing that the future of mobility is uncertain, we developed two scenarios, the Great Reset and Slowing but Growing. These scenarios illustrate the paths that might result from the interconnected impacts of market, policy, and consumer forces. The Great Reset describes a future in which China has successfully steered the economy toward a more sustainable path for growth and enacted constraints on vehicle ownership and driving to try to reduce their negative impacts; this results in a future of strong...

  14. Appendix A Methodology
    (pp. 77-89)
  15. Appendix B List of Experts
    (pp. 91-93)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 94-99)
  17. Figures and Tables
    (pp. 100-100)
  18. Abbreviations
    (pp. 101-101)