Going Hybrid? Considering new hybrid solutions on transport policy An increasing variety of hybrid transport solutions will be offered in the future to cover more specific user demands. Classical boundaries between transport modes and between public and private transport solutions are already increasingly blurred. Transport policy needs to consider this development to promote regulation and planning initiatives closely related to the implications of such new hybrid modes. How to adjust decision models for mobility planners? • New transport projects, products and policies have increasing difficulties in being conceived under the rigid boundaries of traditional modes.• Current transport policies embedded in single and separated mode niches have to be reconsidered.• Vehicle automation reinforces the traditional features linked to road transport (freedom, flexibility, individuality) but increasingly picks up on characteristics typically associated with collective transport, allowing occupants to devote their travel time to leisure or work activities, other than driving. • The electrification of road transport will also open a new paradigm where the traditional understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the different modes (rail, road) lies. New transport projects, products and policies have increasing difficulties in being conceived under the rigid boundaries of traditional modes. Terms such as “rail” or “road”, or “private transport” or “public transport” increasingly become blurred. New technologies aimed at vehicle automation open a new paradigm in which the use of cars reinforces their traditional features linked to personal freedom, planning, flexibility, individuality, and door to door travel; but increasingly pick up new characteristics typically associated with collective transport, namely allowing occupants to devote their travel time to leisure or work activities, other than driving. Relatively simple driving assistants like Adaptive Cruise Control or Stop&Go congestion assistants improve the driving experience when traffic conditions become unpleasant or too long and monotonous. More sophisticated solutions like car platooning – like the SARTRE initiative brought up by Volvo – create real “car-trains” on motorways where a number of vehicles equipped with sensors are automatically guided into forming a line led by a human-driven truck; during this motorway leg of the trip, users enjoy a rail-like experience allowing them to carry out other activities while travelling. Outside the motorway, cars are driven manually again allowing for flexible door to door access and egress. Also linked to these solutions, trucks can become much longer than today, or they can just be linked in platoons of several units increasing their capacity to move freight. In the mid-term, fully autonomous driving will maximize the best characteristics of private and collective transport solutions together by converting private cars into taxi-like services without a driver. While probably enhancing the travel experience, this new kind of driving will introduce enormous challenges related to car ownership (private ownership versus public car sharing or peer-to-peer car pool arrangements), to new driving permits for young, elderly and impaired users, and forcedly, new liability agreements between users, insurance companies, and service or infrastructure operators. The electrification of road transport will also open a new paradigm where the traditional understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the different modes (rail, road) will be challenged, with deep implications for transport policy making. Many rail investments since the 90s and 2000s were justified to a large extent based on criteria related to environmental sustainability, given that the electricity that powered trains could be generated from renewable sources, and this was a comparative advantage in relation to road transport. The publication of the 2001 EC Transport White Paper advocated for ambitious targets to be met for the rail mode in the short and medium term, both for passengers and freight. Although the revision of the White Paper in 2011 lowered the stress on rail claiming the new principle of co-modality (each mode to be promoted specially where particularly competitive), many projects had already been triggered deploying investments in high speed rail networks across Europe (between 2000 and 2015, new high speed rail infrastructure reached 2,400 km in Spain, 840 km in Germany, 750 km in France and 675 km in Italy; the overall European network extension tripled from 2700km of tracks in 2000 to more 8000km). In the meanwhile, the development of road transport electrification is breaking – for the first time in a century-long history of cars – the technological barrier of fossil fuels, allowing new cars to be powered by clean energy sources just like trains. Up until 2016, the European market had approximately 300,000 electric vehicles (plug-in hybrids + battery) concentrated over 90% in 6 Member States (Netherlands, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark), while many cities in Europe are testing and starting to implement 100% electric busses (without catenaries). The bus and coach industry are today experiencing with new mobile units increasingly resembling tramways in terms of vehicle capacity (just 25% lower than a small tramway unit), interior space distribution (access through all doors, low floor plan), and power-train technologies (hybrid electric solutions). Until 2020, the feasible market share of electric vehicles is expected to lie below 5-10% according to the car industry: under these circumstances, controlling and managing the charging patterns of electric vehicles and other loads could be ensured with today’s existing technologies. However, the mass electrification of road transport in the mid-term will bring in new technology and funding requirements in terms of renewable energy capacity installation, network interconnections, and dynamically managed grid systems responding to real-time demand and supply volumes. With the road merging with the rail mode in terms of flexibility, sustainability, capacity and ownership, a new concept of transport is being generated as a middle ground between old modes, forcing a reconsideration of current transport policies still embedded in single and separated mode niches. All previously mentioned changes imply a need to reconsider the way mobility services are planned today to take on board the new comparative strengths and weaknesses of the different modes, and the new and evolving needs of mobility users. EEA (2016), “Electric Vehicles in Europe” (http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/electric-vehicles-in-europe) EC DG TREN (2001). “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide”, Transport White Paper (COM(2001) 370 Final) EC DG MOVE (2011). “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system”, Transport White Paper (COM(2011) 144 Final) Litman, T (2015); “Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions. Implications for Transport Planning”, Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Biosca, O., A. Ulied, C. Doll, L. Mejia-Dorantes, A. Kühn, F. Jürgens, J. Skalska, D. Fiorello, P. Gützkow, A. Nash and A. Klecina (2014); “Societal Implications, land use and urban policy”, Deliverable 4.2 of the research project LivingRAIL (Living in a sustainable world focussed on electrified rail) funded under the 7th framework programme of the European Union.