How will travel change in the future?

How will travel change in the future?

1. Real Life Situation

I have to go to school every day, some things I cannot change! My house is close to school so it is only a 5 minute walk. My friend Sammy lives next door but she is driven to school, I think she is quite lazy! When I arrive at school I often wait for my friends who travel on the school bus. Then we all go to our classroom together. Guess what...all the teachers come by their own car. I want a Porsche when I am old enough.

After school there are lots of clubs and sports I can do. My favourite is football. We practice twice per week. When we have finished I am tired and sometimes wish someone would drive me home instead of walking. On Saturday we have a football match against another school. Sometimes we have to travel many miles to play a game. I am lucky because we travel by car, it is a big one so I have lots of space to sleep on the way back home.


2. Introduction

Just 10 years ago mobile phones were not very widespread and few houses had internet access. Look around you now - can you imagine a time when people lived without radio or television, electricity and cars? So how do you think life on the Earth will look like in 2050?


3. Task

This quest will investigate transportation in the future and how it will affect the environment.


4. Activities

Activity 1: How do people travel? Ideas from the past, the present and the future

Activity 2: The history of transport

Activity 3: Transport and the Environment

Activity 4: Transportation in the Future



 Activity 1: How do people travel? Ideas from the the past, the present and the future

It's difficult to imagine, but there was once a time when the big cities and roads were not jammed with cars, taxis and buses. You will investigate how travel habits have changed over the years and what sort of energy or fuel was used.

Discover how people from your local community travelled 50 or 100 years ago? What vehicles they used and what were the environmental impacts.

Interview your grandparents and neighbours.

There may be a local transport museum that you can visit with your family.

Once you have collected information about how people used to travel use the internet to research what sort of energy or fuel was used.


 Activity 2: The history of transport

The car changed the world forever.

The first modern car was invented over 100 years ago in Germany by Karl Benz, followed shortly after by Gottlieb Daimler. They created the first vehicles driven using internal combustion engines.

Part 1:

Use the internet to try and find out more about the history of the automobile.

Part 2:

Choose a mode of transport and research its history.  Try to create a timeline from creation to modern day.

Present your findings on powerpoint or poster.


Some examples are provided below:

You can read more about the history of the motor car here and see photographs of some of the earliest cars.

American magazine Forbes ranked the top 10 most legendary cars that changed the world over the last 100 years.  What is interesting about the last car?

What about aeroplanes? Introducing the Wright Brothers and the history of flight.

Read about the history of rail in Britain here and listen to some of the recollections of people who worked on Britain's railways over the last 60 years.


 Activity 3: Transport and the Environment  

Watch the video "Transportation and Environment"

According to official statistics of the UN the US has the most cars in the world in number of cars per thousand inhabitants, with Luxembourg second and Malaysia third. The UK is 18th with 426 cars per thousand inhabitants, the Netherlands is 19th with 417, Hungary is 33rd with 262 cars, Bulgaria in 35th place and Slovakia 36th with 237 cars. Last are Malawi and Afghanistan.

If every country had as many cars as the US the world would have more than 3 billion cars! This would be a disaster for the environment. Road transport is responsible for 17.5 % of overall greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and its emissions increased by 23% between 1990 and 2009.

In this activity take a critical point of view about car use. Can we improve cars to make them more environmentally friendly ? What are car manufacturers doing to make cars more eco friendly.  

The electric car is on the verge of breaking through offering a realistic choice for innovative and clean mobility. Watch a short video about the electric car here. You can also watch a video about Emission Trading 'How does the emission trading scheme work?' and 'Eco driving'.

What about a car made from recycled materials?


 Activity 4: Transportation in the Future

Our history has been filled with innovations in transportation. In the 19th century the steam locomotive transformed the way the world worked. In the 20th century the car and aeorplane dramatically reduced the time it took to go from one place to another making the globe seem like a much smaller place.

Watch the short video called 'Spotting the signs for a transport system by 2050' which shows how transport usage has changed over the last 20 years.

Now, we wait for the next big innovation and technology to sweep the globe.

Will it be an improvement upon existing modes of transport or will it catch us by surprise and be something completely new?

Watch the videos about transportation in the future.


Work in small groups of 4 or 5.

In your group discuss how you think people will travel and what transport will look like in 50 years.

Read this news article if you need some ideas.

Create a short story to describe "How travel will change in the future"

Your story should include new inventions and ideas.

Illustate your story by making a drawing of your 'vehicles of the future'.


5. Reflection

Write down three things you have learnt about the transport in the past, present and future.

Write down two things you would like to find out more about.

Choose one of these things, how could you find out more about it?

Transportation learning wall

6. Conclusion

Transport accounts for around a quarter of total EU greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis by the European Environment Agency of trends in transportation and the environmental impacts highlights that we need to think about how we travel in the future.


7. Teacher notes

Age: 10-12 years


Activity 1: How can people move? - Ideas from the the past, the present and the future (20 minutes)
Activity 2: The story of the first vehicle (30 minutes)
Activity 3: Transport and Environment (30 minutes)
Activity 4: Transportation in the Future (30 minutes)

Curriculum / Subject (cross-curricular links):

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the quest all students will:
Evaluate and understand why we invent new ways of transportation
Identify environmentally friendly transportation fuels
Understand the impact of their personal choice of transport on the environment
Collect and structure scientific / historical information
Think creatively
Invent and provide new solutions in the context of sustainable transport

Teacher assesment framework