Transport is the glue that binds the many elements of society together. It transcends distance to enable us as individuals and organisations to connect with people, goods, services and opportunities. As the world’s population grows and pursuit of economic and social prosperity continues, the amount of glue that is needed increases. In an effort to enable prosperity, transport infrastructure has grown and significantly shaped and defined our built environments. Use of that infrastructure, as well as securing benefits, imposes significant social, environmental and economic costs on society.
The scope of transport is vast covering road, rail and air with movement at local, regional, national and international levels. Different parts of the world are at different stages in the evolution of their transport systems. Some countries face ageing and heavily used infrastructure. Others are seeking major expansion with the prospect of unlocking prosperity. Movement of people and goods has now been joined by movement of information as society connects through the possibilities brought about by the digital age. It is estimated that nearly two fifths of the world’s population are now internet users and almost one quarter were smartphone users by 2014. This compares to the latest World Bank estimate (2011) putting the number of passenger cars per 1000 population globally at 123.