Low-cost launches, space debris and security threats to name a few issues are on the rise as outer space activities with the support of private enterprises are promoted across the world. Where is the global space industry heading? Is the future bright for private enterprises involved in space activities, esp., when it comes to competitiveness? What are the business, legal and policy concerns that may impede this growth in the space sector? As space is a global industry, how can we foster more collaboration and interoperability across regulatory regimes?
Transport plays a vital role in society and the economy. Our quality of life depends on an efficient and accessible transport system. Transport is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions and a major contributor to climate change. Reducing the adverse effects of transport is an important policy goal. The main strands of activity are shifting transport to the least polluting and most efficient modes, deploying more sustainable transport technology, fuels and infrastructure, and ensuring that transport prices fully reflect the adverse environmental and health impacts. The problem is clear and the goals are looking certain. Are we lacking leaders with a vision and strategy to tackle climate issues in general and why transport sector is falling behind to reach targets? What is the sector doing and how should legal and policy frameworks deal with this matter? Is the aviation sector doing anything special?
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been limited to a particular region or confined to a particular time. Border restrictions have led to a temporary stoppage in human mobility and transportation activities; and created severe impediments for international trade. As an outcome of the COVID-19, supply chains in the transportation industry have been hampered, though differently across air, rail, road, and sea sectors. The demand and supply have declined substantially due to prolonged lockdown in almost all productive activities, thereby leading to operations shutdown, sales loss, late deliveries, and reputational loss, which needed substantial governmental supports. The unique nature of the COVID-19 crisis requires robust policy changes to address the resilience of the transport sector, especially, to tackle such health crises in the future. So, what is required to make the mobility, transport and logistics sectors more resilient? Has the industry learned anything from the pandemic and what opportunities are foreseen for smooth recovery of the economy?
A diverse and inclusive workforce in the transport sector means more talent, wider vision, enhanced innovation, a more focused approach to gender requirements in access to transport and mobility, and improved responsiveness to the transport needs and preferences of everyone, i.e., issues related to accessibility, safety and security. Are the right policies and framework in place for this inclusive growth to take place? Do we have the talent pool with the right qualifications and skills needed? Fostering a more inclusive and gender-balanced workforce is one of the solutions to meet the future demands of the transport sector.
Fall or Rise of the aviation sector? Where is the airline industry heading after the pandemic? Is technology or digitalisation an enabler in the revival of the aviation sector during and post covid pandemic? What legal and policy reforms are necessary to make the sector more resilient to such health crises? What can we learn from other regulatory regimes? What changes can we expect in the aviation market, in India and globally? More consolidation may take place to meet growing passenger and freight demand and what strategies are being adopted by carriers to remain competitive?
Transport will remain the backbone of an economy. However, lack of transport infrastructure will have a direct impact on other sectors, such as agriculture, pharma, construction and tourism. How have recent developments in transport infrastructure changed the Indian economy? Is the uptake in infrastructure investments being hindered due to a policy paralysis or an economic paralysis? What legal and policy support is urgently required to ensure the transport sector is looking at growth opportunities
The world’s population is increasingly city-based; 51% or 3.5 billion people currently live in urban areas and by 2050 this is expected to reach 70% of the population or 6.3 billion people. Existing mobility systems are close to breakdown because transport continues to be a significant source of air pollution and congestion, especially in cities. By 2050, the average time an urban dweller spends in traffic jams will be 106 hours per year, three times more than today. So, the simple question at hand is what are the policymakers expected to do and how do we raise awareness that may bring a change in consumer behavior and travel choices.
As transport becomes increasingly digitized, connected and automated, new technology, business models, legal and policy frameworks and investment strategies – together with changing trade patterns, market needs and environmental expectations – are transforming the landscape. But while innovation is clearly a powerful driver, it is not a panacea. Tackling inefficiencies in the transport sector, irrespective of the mode of transport requires frameworks to improve productivity, safety, security, competition, sustainability, transparency and overall professionalism. Innovation has a part to play – but it is not the whole solution. So, what opportunities and challenges are ahead and will technology innovation continue to be an enabler for the transport industry? Specifically, what laws and policies will the transport industry have to tackle at the same time continue to support innovation, keep the costs competitive and customer needs are fulfilled.