Imagining urban mobility futures in the era of autonomous vehicles—insights from participatory visioning and multi-criteria appraisal in the UK and Australia

Ransford A. Acheampong, Crystal Legacy, Richard Kingston, John Stone

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Abstract

Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) present enormous uncertainties and challenges for future urban transport and mobility. While urban and transportation planning have significant roles to play in shaping these futures, a critical challenge is identifying and reconciling divergent values and competing visions in relation to this potentially disruptive transport technology and the associated mobility services. In this paper, we demonstrate the use of a participatory multi-criteria visioning and appraisal framework and methodology to enable stakeholders to envision, identify and interrogate essential tensions between imagined AV futures and long-term transport and mobility imperatives. Based on workshops with stakeholders at the forefront of policy and practice, and academia in Greater Manchester (UK) and Melbourne (Australia), we reveal several insights. Regarding the prospects of AVs, our participants are neither ‘opponents’ nor ‘evangelists’, but instead, manifest the contrasting attitudes and perspectives of excitement, optimism, ambivalence, scepticism and uncertainty all at the same time. In the visions outlined and appraised, our stakeholders identify AVs prospects in various use cases, such as public transport, personal and shared-use and urban freight and delivery applications, while at the same time recognising the inherent contradictions between automated driving futures outlined and imperatives such as reversing auto-mobility and creating safe and inclusive urban environments. Finally, the study brings to the fore the significant role of governance in mediating the politics and resolving contestations in critical areas including data management and privacy, cybersecurity and implementing viable business models and ownership arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-208
Number of pages16
JournalTransport Policy
Volume136
Early online date6 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Future transport
  • MCA
  • Participatory visioning
  • Urban futures

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