Events - 05.06.2016 - 00:00
6 June 2016. On 4 and 5 June 2016, Switzerland celebrated the inauguration of the world’s longest railway tunnel with a large-scale public event outside the two portals of the new Gotthard base tunnel. The two Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Zurich and EPFL) and various enterprises had an opportunity to present transport-relevant technologies to the general public at this event. The SBB Lab of the University of St.Gallen in cooperation with the SBB invited the public to think in a ludic manner about a few issues concerning the mobility of the future in the context of the Gotthard inauguration.
The car to continue to play a central role in the future
About two thirds of participants will not want to do without a car in the future, either. Those who will not have a car any longer and will use sharing services instead therefore only account for just under 20 per cent of all the visitors that took part in the SBB Lab’s survey in Rynächt. The group who will make exclusive use of public transport in the future, too, is of about equal size. Even so: a large majority assume that the proportion of public transport will register a distinctive increase in the rising overall transport volume of the future; however, people also believe that in 2040, hardly anyone will still differentiate between public and individual transport as there will be a different terminology.
Railways to satisfy modest requirements
The requirements stated most often in connection with the railways as the backbone of public transport are modest: people want to have adequate room, peace and quiet, clean toilets in good working order, connectivity (through WiFi), refreshments, as well as room for bicycles and other slow means of transport. Other people dream of railway journey luxuries, including flat reclining seats with massage functions, wellness oases and similar things…
Future investments: new technologies to be taken into account
The answers to the question as to how a future investment in the same amount as was necessary for the Gotthard base tunnel should be used were clear: about two thirds are of the opinion that these funds should be used for new transport technologies, for instance for above-ground magnetic levitation trains (Hyperloop), Swissmetro or Cargo sous terrain (for freight). Only a third thinks that existing technologies (road and rail) should be further extended.
Christian Laesser, who was in charge of the survey, reckons that last weekend, it was “a public that was likely to be somewhat predisposed in favour of railways and partially also enthusiastic about technology who provided an atmospheric picture of our mobility future” – a picture that tended to be blurred, as pictures of the future were always likely to be. However, it became evident that the borderlines of our thinking about mobility are losing their sharpness and that people liked to think about new technologies. This is likely to lay essential foundations for a successful creation of our future in this respect.
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