Trains and cars

Posted in cars, transport by thenextwavefutures on 20 January, 2013

20130113-155734.jpg It’s the New Year in Britain, and as is now traditional, it has started with news stories about rail commuters complaining about increases in the price of travel. The news coverage has ranged from the simple to the simplistic.

It’s worth unravelling some of this. In terms of the rail sector, the clearest summary is from Christian Wolmar.

Finding the right target for passenger anger is made difficult by the fact that transparency is not a feature of the rail industry and railway economics remains a dark art. … The railways may have been privatised in the mid-Nineties, but in reality they are a mix of private and state interests, with most of the purse – and other – strings still being pulled by the Government. Forget the notion of a raw capitalistic enterprise with energetic entrepreneurs seeking innovative ways to fleece the public: the train operating companies are pretend capitalists who have very little room for manoeuvre and invest very little.



Britain’s car exports at 20-year high

Posted in blindspot, business, cars, economics, emerging issues, trade by thenextwavefutures on 30 January, 2008

One of the things you learn working as a journalist is that most news is predictable – a point satirised by Michael Frayn in his outstanding novel The Tin Men in the 1960s. But sometimes headlines do still surprise you. One such was the news that British car exports had reached record levels last year.


The emerging auto market

Posted in cars, design, global, technology, transport, trends, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 16 January, 2008

Two manufacturers have caught the eye at the current round of car shows – and they’re not from Europe or the United States. At the Delhi Auto Expo, Tata has been been breaking visitor records with its Nano car – at 100,000 rupees (less than £1,500) a time. In Detroit, meanwhile, Toyota is talking the sort of language which is more familiar to transport campaigners.


Selling the highways dream – 50s style

Posted in cars, future, history, social, transport by thenextwavefutures on 29 December, 2007

If you’re interested in how the future is portrayed in the past – or in transport – this is certainly worth nine minutes of your time. From 1958, a section of a Disney show on the future of transportati0n. Or, as it turns out, the future of highways and cars.


Competing futures of cars

Posted in business, cars, cities, design, emerging issues, energy, future, innovation, sustainability, technology, transport by thenextwavefutures on 10 November, 2007

The recent DARPA ‘urban challenge’ car competition has directed attention towards the futures of the the car – especially the urban vehcile – as a transport mode. It’s a reminder of how much our social assumptions about technology shape the way we imagine their futures.


The health costs of noise

Posted in aviation, business, cars, emerging issues, environment, sustainability, transport by thenextwavefutures on 2 September, 2007

Despite some regulation, noise has been something of a Cinderella of environmental pollution, perhaps because it is often regarded as annoying rather than life threatening. A new (if preliminary) study from the World Health Organisation has quantified the health costs of noise in Europe. They are strikingly high.


Global car production continues to rise

Posted in affluence, cars, climate change, environment, global, sustainability, transport by thenextwavefutures on 30 July, 2007

You don’t read the Worldwatch Institute site for good news on global warming, of course. But it’s worth noting their report that world car production was up 4% last year – reaching a new record output of 67 million vehicles. The most dramatic change in the global industry was a 30% increase in the number of cars made in China – displacing Germany to become the number three produce (more…)

Motorists become more socially conscious

Posted in cars, social, sustainability, transport, trends by thenextwavefutures on 15 June, 2007

It depended which version you read, but either way the RAC’s annual report on motoring seemed to contain surprises. The actual report doesn’t seem obviously visible online, but the RAC’s version suggested that motorists wanted more authoritarian approaches to dangerous motorists, while the Guardian’s interpretation implied that motorists’ attitudes to road pricing was heavily inflected by what the revenues were spent on.