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GM publishes “Blue Paper” on sustainable urban mobility; integrating input from Sustainable Urban Mobility events in Shanghai

The convergence of a wide range of new technologies is leading to an unprecedented shift in what GM calls “the genetic makeup” of motor vehicles. Click to enlarge.

GM has published a “blue paper” introducing its vision of sustainable urban mobility. The Blue Paper—published in English and Chinese—addresses the growing challenges associated with rising urbanization and the greater demand for transportation with respect to energy, the environment, safety, traffic congestion and land use. Electrification, connectivity and creative design are key components of the technology solutions.

The Blue Paper integrates learnings and feedback from GM’s six “Drive to 2030”: Sustainable Urban Mobility forums, which took place from May to October at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

The Blue Paper is an important document that integrates the learnings from our forums and participation in Expo 2010, which have provided a compelling vision of the future of the automobile and urban communities. This vision, which GM is proud to document in the Blue Paper, serves as a roadmap to the electrification, connectivity, creative design, and advanced innovation strategies that will lead the world to sustainable urban mobility by 2030.

—Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group

In GM’s vision of sustainable urban mobility, vehicles of the future will be increasingly powered by electricity, connected continuously to the communications infrastructure, electronically controlled, autonomously driven when desired, and flexibly designed to meet specific usage requirements. With this vision, GM proposes specific objectives for future mobility.

The Blue Paper offers eight recommendations for overcoming the challenges associated with the rising demand for personal mobility and growing urbanization:

  1. Accelerate and encourage the move to the electrification of the automobile, including the development of key vehicle components, a smart power grid, and a comprehensive urban recharging infrastructure.

  2. Increase the diversity of energy sources, particularly the development of a broad array of renewable sources, to support low-emission pathways to electrification.

  3. Leverage connectivity by ensuring a high-quality wireless communications infrastructure and encouraging the rapid development of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and related intelligent transportation technologies.

  4. Develop a sophisticated, integrated, intelligent transportation system that dynamically manages large transportation flows using the latest communications and computer controls.

  5. Integrate electrically powered, connected vehicles into a multi-modal transport system that incorporates sophisticated inter-city transport, comprehensive subway systems, traditional vehicle movement, and specialized smaller urban vehicles.

  6. Align government tax, regulatory, and procurement policies to support the vision of connected electrically driven vehicles. Specific globally consistent codes and standards should be developed. Government organizations should also support funding to encourage continued electric vehicle research and development and consumer incentives to support the transition to new energy vehicles.

  7. Begin to optimize the physical infrastructure to support new urban vehicles through active collaboration and cooperation among urban planning authorities, think tanks, academic institutions, automotive companies, and infrastructure companies.

  8. Identify a series of “lighthouse” projects to rapidly demonstrate the viability and potential of connected electrically driven vehicles in a controlled environment such as an eco-city or small town.

Realizing the vision of sustainable mobility requires cooperation among government institutions, the automotive industry, infrastructure developers, and the academic community, GM noted.




I like this outline. Especially the need for diverse alternative energy sources. The expansion of sustainable liquid biofuels, solar, geothermal, and wind should continue where feasible and of economic value.

Especially interesting in point 8. Not sure what a "connected electrically driven vehicle" is. Auto piloted vehicles spaced on a freeway? Or urban runabouts with robotic pilots?

Good to see someone at the new GM thinking with vision.


“Drive to 2030” sounds very futuristic, but far off. IMO we will not electrify personal transport quickly enough to head off major problems. World demand for oil will soon out strip supply by wider and wider margins.


We would be better off if GM went bankrupt. GM aims as always to build a transportation monopoly. In this latest gambit, they're trotting out whiz-bang technology in a bait and switch tactic to delay the inevitable collapse of the automobile as a viable form of travel for the masses. Connecting on-board computers will not address traffic congestion in the least, nor reduce overall energy consumption to the point where the automobile can remain the only travel choice for most people.

If Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Saturn wish to go on making cars, they'd be better off without the umbrella corporation of GM laying down the law. GM is just wasting time, resources and money trying to prop up their own failing transportation system.


Saturn is not going to make cars as far as I know. It is not just GM, most car makers are headed in roughly the same direction by slightly different paths.


There are technologies which can greatly improve the carrying capacity of freeways, such as adaptive cruise control driving vehicles as "trains" just a few feet apart. This does not create any more capacity for exit ramps or parking garages, but I would expect that most commuters would be very happy to eliminate most of their delays in getting from city to suburb in the evening.


Long ago I favored ranging cruise controls. They would eliminate a lot of multiple car pile ups and driver stress. You would still drive the car, but a safe margin would be maintained at all speeds. Mercedes and others are now starting to offer this on high end models. I believe it can be standard equipment on all new cars at a reasonable price.

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