Movin’On 2017 - 3 future urban transport trends

By Marc-André Coutu, July 5th, 2017

ALTO Design was on the scene at the Movin’On summit to address the future of urban mobility and intelligent transport. Mobility is an integral part of our life today, and its evolution clearly shapes our vision and our work as industrial designers. Here are three major trends that emerged from the conference – trends that we believe will have a profound influence on future modes of transportation.


Big Data processing through advances in Deep Learning is the buzz wherever you go these days among designers of products and user experiences. Where urban transportation is concerned, there’s no denying that Big Data will generate a real revolution: first, by helping cities better understand traffic flows and optimize their road and street networks accordingly, based on real needs, but especially by making traffic management automation and optimization possible in real time, in order to reduce congestion.


In the longer term, advances in artificial intelligence, coupled with this ever-expanding volume of data, will make it possible to create fleets of connected, fully autonomous vehicles. In this context, a car would no longer be personal property but would become a collective asset instead. This massive paradigm shift will actually encourage more frequent travel, using a smaller number of vehicles, through a system of continuous service. Given that our own vehicles, at present, are used only 5% of the time, the potential for optimization is enormous.

For designers, the prospect of a future like this should get us thinking in three interesting areas:

1- What are we going to do with all those parking lots formerly dedicated to that enormous fleet of largely stationary vehicles?

2- How can passenger compartments in autonomous vehicles be reimagined so users can make the most of their travel time – working, entertaining, or even resting?

3- What modes of personal transportation might be invented or improved to complement collective service for short-distance or ultra-specific routes?



For quite some time ALTO Design has strongly believed that electrification is the way of the future in transportation. Throughout the Movin’On summit, that belief was supported by a multitude of experts, whose visions converge on this point. Everyone agrees that Quebec has many of the key assets to play a leading role in this area, with its abundant hydroelectric capacity at the top of the list. To make the most of Quebec’s global leadership potential, it is above all necessary that the political will to do so materializes in sustained investment. First in major public transit projects, then in the installation of a vast, reliable network of charging stations. When the time comes that it’s as easy and intuitive to recharge our vehicles as it is to stop at a gas station, only then will we see a real change of direction.



Having said that, our experience at the Movin’On summit was very rewarding. We believe this kind of event is essential for sharing the large pool of expertise and effort with many different agents of change and the ambitions we share. Of course, we do have to be realistic. The urban transportation ecosystem as a whole must be radically altered if we ever hope to see that day in the future when people relinquish the liberty of individual travel for the benefits of collective mobility. To achieve this, the transportation experience of the future will have to be enjoyable, intuitive, and hassle-free for users. And that, in this broader perspective, is what being industrial designers is all about.

Share this content