Long distance love

Last week, I visited the transportation conference (Stora Transportdagen; #storadag13) in Stockholm. The event was followed by opinion leaders, transport industry representatives and lots of other stakeholders.

Johan Norberg (researcher in the history of ideas and culture) held an interesting speech (yes, a speech and not a presentation) about the importance of travel. I will not have a chance to give justice to his vivid and engaged presentation. However some of the thoughts are translated below:
“long distance love used to be an endangered species, modern travel has opened new possibilities”. It used to be said that long distance love is doomed to fail. Today people meet and make new connections as never before in history.

Research has shown that the fact that people meet and get acquainted achieves many advantages:
i) Less risk for conflicts and negative time and resource consuming activities such as wars.
ii) High potential of cross pollination and mutual learning, such as pottery or IC circuit manufacturing.
iii) High potential of increased trade and resulting access to “new” resources such as Platinum for emission car catalysts or cotton for clothing.
Or to summarize, humans get smarter and more efficient by more meetings with other people from other places than we usually loop.

At the conference I got the opportunity to make a 10 minute summary of the breakthrough in electromobility for buses.

Main concerns in most cities around the globe include insufficient focus at:
– Noise
– Fuel consumption / Energy use
– Transport efficiency / Speed and Capacity

Additional attention also needs to be pointed towards (although some positive steps have been taken):
– Low or Zero Emissions
– Green House Gases
– Renewable energy

Buses that run in city traffic in general follow “bur routs”. This means that the path is predictable. Volvo is now proposing a path that will lower the energy use radically, lower the noise and still provide an enabler for increase capacity and rout speed.

I will leave you with this teaser for now and continue the story in my next post.


About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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