Autonomous vehicles and employment: An urban futures revolution or catastrophe?

Alexandros Nikitas, Alexandra-Elena Vitel, Corneliu Cotet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Paradigm-shifting technologies such as Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) despite a wealth of promised benefits for the future of our cities may generate new unprecedented threats. The transportation industry will be the first to experience the aftermath of AVs since these can kill driving professions and create new layers of employability-related social exclusion. This paper appraises public perceptions of AVs and their employment repercussions as a forecasting tool that can drive equitable policy planning that prioritises humans over machines. The study is based on an online survey of 773 responses from an international audience. Descriptive statistics and ordinal regression modelling have been used. Most respondents recognised that the arrival of AVs is likely to revolutionise the distribution of jobs within the transport industry. They also believe governments are not prepared for the transformations AVs will force upon workplace arenas. Age, field of work/study, level of understanding AVs, income, gender, awareness about the risks on own employment were factors influencing the respondents' perceptions of whether transport professionals' job security will be jeopardised. The study argues that AVs are perceived as a significant employment disruptor and that reskilling, public engagement and awareness exercises should be widely adopted by the stakeholders ‘responsible’ for the transition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103203
Number of pages14
JournalCities
Volume114
Early online date14 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2021

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