Google’s research suggests that building a sustainable transport network is no longer just a science experiment, but could be a way to boost global GDP.
The study, commissioned by the UK government and published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that transport could be an “enabler of the global transition away from fossil fuels” in the future.
The report suggests that, as technology improves, “the cost of transport could drop substantially” while the benefits to society and the environment could be “more substantial”.
Transport will be an enabler in the global transformation away from the use of fossil fuels, according to the study by Google.
It will also be a catalyst for economic growth and global prosperity, it says.
The “global transition away” is seen as key to unlocking a sustainable future, according the study.
“It means that our cities will have to adapt to new forms of transport, and to new modes of transport that will require less land and less infrastructure,” said Professor Richard Kugelman, a professor of engineering at the University of Sussex.
“This means that the demand for new transport technologies will rise, the need for new forms will increase, and the costs of the existing modes will increase.”
The new research by Google and the UK Government has been criticised by campaigners as a politically motivated study that ignores the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on cities, especially in the developing world.
The project was funded by the Department for Transport and Infrastructure (DfT), which is the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government.
“Transport will be the driver of the transformation away and its impacts will be felt across the world,” said DfT deputy chief executive David Brown.
“The findings of this study will have an impact on government policy to support the transition away and enable sustainable urban transport, which will deliver benefits to the environment, people, and economic growth.”
Google, a US company, has long championed a sustainable way of life that relies on sustainable transport.
Its self-driving cars are capable of travelling at speeds of up to 200mph, and its trucks can go up to 3,000km/h (1,600mph) on one tank of gas.
Transport for London (TfL) has previously said that the “best option” is to build a network of self-balancing, electric, electric-powered, and gas-powered transport.
Google’s report has been welcomed by campaigners, who have argued that the report’s conclusion about a low carbon transport system is “overblown”.
“This report is a good reminder that we must be taking action to protect the planet and our cities and that the transition is well underway,” said Greenpeace’s climate campaigner, Chris Jackson.
“In many ways it is a great opportunity for our cities to get the most out of the technologies we have, because these technologies will be required in order to meet our growing demand for sustainable transport.”
Google’s project was launched on Monday, as part of a wider effort by the company to develop sustainable transport in its fleet of self driving cars.
Transport is a big concern in the UK, where a recent report by the government found that nearly two-thirds of the country’s transport network could be destroyed by 2035.