Future transport needs

Challenges create opportunities

1. Demographic changes and urbanization
In 2050, the world's population is expected to exceed nine billion. Since 2008, more than half the world’s population live in cities and in fifty years that figure is expected to reach two-thirds. This trend leads to an increased need for transportation and better infrastructure. Large quantities of goods, products and people are transported daily within as well as to and from cities. Cities, particularly major cities, have particular requirements for city and traffic planning. Furthermore, traffic jams as well as pollution and noise need to be addressed, for instance by vehicles which are specially adapted for urban environments.

Efficient transport with BRT systems
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a public transport system with dedicated bus lanes, high service frequency and simplicity of boarding and alighting. It is fast, comfortable, safe and reliable. Furthermore, the investment cost is lower than alternatives such as public transport by rail and subway and the environmental impact is decreased when compared with individual travel by car. The concept was developed in the Brazilian city of Curitiba and many cities worldwide view BRT as a promising solution for public transport. Volvo Buses is a world-leading supplier of buses to modern BRT systems such as in Mexico City in the photo.

2. Climate change and alternative fuels
Climate change comprises one of the most complex and difficult questions of our time, and the burning of fossil fuels such as oil is the single largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions. This means that increased fuel efficiency is of utmost importance, and it has also increased the interest in alternative, renewable-energy sources. The development of alternative fuels and electromobility differs widely in different regions depending on the natural resources available, which in turn drives the development of vehicles adapted for various types of energy sources. The move towards large-scale use of renewable energy is also dependent on political decisions and investment capacity to create the necessary infrastructure.

Fuel efficiency and new drivelines
The Volvo Group constantly strives to reduce the negative impact that our products have on the environment. This naturally entails increasing fuel efficiency. The Volvo Group estimates the fuel-saving potential for a standard truck will be 15% in 2020 compared with fuel consumption in 2005. We are also investing considerable resources in the development of alternative drivelines, for example hybrid solutions and drivelines optimized for renewable fuels, such as Methane Diesel and DME (dimethyl ether).

3. Shortage of natural resources and raw material
Population growth, a rapidly growing middle class and increased purchasing power leads to larger numbers of people increasing their consumption. Mankind is utilizing an increasing amount of land, water and other resources. More efficient use of resources is required and the recovery of a greater proportion of material is becoming increasingly important to secure future access to material.

Recyclable products
The Volvo Group’s products are largely recyclable, since by weight they consist of almost 85% metal, mostly iron, steel and aluminum. The additional materials are mainly plastic, rubber and material from electronics components. There are disassembly stations where trucks, buses and construction machines can be disassembled for re-use of some product parts and recycling of others. The photo shows remanufacturing within Volvo Construction Equipment Reman.

4. Safety and security
Traffic and road safety is becoming increasingly important as demands on transportation increases. The subject is a high priority for governments and institutions the world over. In the future, the focus on safety in a broader sense will continue to increase. This will impact the security of drivers, vehicles and goods.

Smart vehicles
90% of all traffic accidents arise from the human factor. Smart vehicles with active safety systems that communicate with other vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure enable the driver to be liberated from monotonous tasks and instead create the possibility for the driver to focus his or her attention where it is really needed. With advanced technology for detection, electronic surveillance of transportation and electronic document management, drivers, vehicles and cargo can be better protected against crime.

5. Competent labor
For many years, interest has waned for education and careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering in some developed countries while interest has grown in some emerging markets. The need, however, for competent employees with these types of specialist skills will increase as the products and services are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Read more in the Volvo Sustainability Report 2012

An attractive employer
The Volvo Group’s success hinges on having motivated and engaged employees, who are willing to take an active part in the Group’s development and future. Therefore, The Group invests in the development, health and wellbeing of its employees. The Volvo Group also strives for a company culture in which employees are encouraged to develop and seek out new challenges in their careers.