Transport Revolutions - 2025
Moving People and Freight Without Oil, Earthscan 2008
by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl
Believing oil production will peak in 2012, authors Gilbert and Perl explore ways in which the transportation of people and freight will embark on a path toward revolutionary change by 2025 They believe one of the most crucial technologies will be the extension of trolleybus technology to provide widespread replacement of existing diesel and petrol based transport in both moving people and freight in both the urban and inter-urban contexts.This is not seen as any sort of hardship.
"Trolleybuses are popular because they are quiet and odourless and thus relatively inconspicuous, fitting in well with the urban fabric. They could well become popular for another reason: they do not rely on oil. As world oil production peaks, supply fails to keep up with potential demand, and prices rise dramatically as a consequence, use of oil products as transport fuels could become prohibitively expensive."
Gilbert and Perl go on to say that "We make the case in this book that electric vehicles are the most important viable alternative to vehicles moved by internal combustion engines, and that they could quite qickly begin to replace oil-fuelled mobility on land. Their power could come from overhead wires or rails, which can deliver renrwable energy in a remarkably efficient manner."
They go on to say that battery power is less efficient and that fuel cells are not promising. Gilbert and Perl analyse and propose modal share currently and by 2025. For the US, this would amount to 500 billion tonne-kilometres moved by trolleylorry - "road vehicles that can draw power from overhead wires along highways between places without rail service. These would use less energy than battery lorries because there would be no charging and recharging losses". A similar quantity is proposed for China by 2025.
Local public transport would see substantial expansion and become largely electrified, using trolleybuses, trams and heavy rail.
"Intercity bus would also expand. Roughly half of it would be powered by more efficient versions of today's diesel engines and half would be electric buses, drawing power from overhead wires that are installed for bus and lorry use along some major highways."
Gilbert and Perl believe 2025 is just a way point in the unfolding transport revolutions that will extend past 2040.
Richard Gilbert is a Toronto-based consultant who focuses on transport and energy issues, with recent public- and private-sector clients in North America, Europe and Asia. Anthony Perl is a Professor of Urban Studies and Political Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where he directs the Urban Studies Program.
Ashley Bruce 29/12/07
Transport Revolutions website
Published by Earthscan. 2008.
Also reviewed -
Publisher by Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen, 2007.
A new look at what came first
Engineering pages -
Promoting quiet, clean urban transport using Overhead Electric, Zero Emission Trolleybuses -
email The Electric Tbus Group