RGS-IBG CfP: The Spaces of Road Transport Automation

Call for Papers for a TGRG sponsored session at the 2015 Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference, 1-4 September, University of Exeter (http://www.rgs.org/WhatsOn/ConferencesAndSeminars/Annual+International+Conference/Annual+international+conference.htm)

The Spaces of Road Transport Automation

Session Convenors

Graham Parkhurst, Centre for Transport & Society, University of the West of England

graham.parkhurst@uwe.ac.uk

Kate Pangbourne, Department of Computing Science, University of Aberdeen

k.pangbourne@abdn.ac.uk

Please send titles and abstracts of up to 500 words to both convenors.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 16th February 2015.

Session Abstract: The prospect of increasing automation in road transport is generating considerable academic, policy, practice and public debate at the time of writing, particularly in relation to the ultimate ‘destination’ of ‘project autonomy’: completely driverless road vehicles. Commentators identify a broad range of benefits, often framed by their own perspectives, from the potential to revitalise the automotive sector, the possibilities to enhance the mobility of groups unable to drive themselves, those hoping for a more productive journey experience and claims for energy and emissions reductions. Of lower profile in the debate are concerns about the implications of greater ‘car’ dependence, which might result in reduced physical activity, less intense social interactions, and minimal or negative impacts on congestion.

Whether or not driverless vehicles are socially progressive or regressive, it is clear that their introduction, particularly away from restricted-access motorways, will have major implications for streetscapes, and arguably for the wider socio-spatial organisation of society. For example, if the need for parking facilities is reduced or eliminated, then the attractiveness of city centre locations for residential and commercial activities might increase. This session seeks to attract papers examining the implications of automation in broad terms, but authors are encouraged to consider the potential spatial impacts of such a technological shift.

Examples of topics which papers might cover are:

  • The sources of demand or market niches for automated vehicles:
    • Who might be the early adopters or key beneficiaries?
    • Which journey types might be attracted to AVs?
    • What are the implications for activity and travel patterns and traffic management?
  • What are the implications for the management of multimodality in urban spaces? For example, how should automated and human-controlled movements be prioritised?
  • What are the implications for urban structure and form?
  • How would automated road transport impact differently on rural, suburban and urban communities?
  • Who will be the socioeconomic winners and losers from automation? Will there be new spatialities of road transport justice?

The session will be of 1 hour 40 minutes duration, featuring 5 presentations with brief introduction and concluding summary contributions by the convenors. The convenors will seek opportunities for publication of the session papers in a journal special issue after the conference.

Keywords: automated vehicles, urban design, society and space, transport policy and strategy

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