Can Driverless Transport Be Sustainable? A Triple Bottom Line Problematisation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Connected and autonomous mobility may be an imminent game-changing reality, still in its embryonic form, that is set to disrupt a century-long ‘driver-centric’ status quo and recalibrate transport in unprecedented and possibly entirely unexpected ways. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) may have among others, a major impact on sustainability which in an era where concerns about the urgency and magnitude of climate change threats are voiced more and louder than ever before, needs to be a positive one for helping societies to enjoy liveable futures. This might not be an easy task to accomplish, however. This chapter, using a thematically organised narrative review approach, tries to give a well-rounded answer on whether driverless technology can yield sustainability benefits (or not) by looking at all three spheres of sustainability referring to environmental, economic and social implications. Agendas like motor traffic, air pollution, energy consumption, employment dynamics, inclusion, cyber security and privacy are all explored, and a conclusion is derived highlighting the need to package automation with connectivity, alternative fuelling and multimodality and building it around public transport (and to a lesser extent sharing service) provision. The road to make driverless transport genuinely sustainable is ‘bumpy’ and ‘uphill’ and requires the development of an appetite not for technology excellence per se, but rather for travel behaviour change. Achieving this needs serious strategic and coordinated multi-stakeholder efforts in terms of pro-active policy reform, user (and transport provider) education and training initiatives, infrastructure investment, business plan development, and living lab experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Automated and Connected Transport
EditorsNikolas Thomopoulos, Maria Attard, Yoram Shiftan
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781803823492
ISBN (Print)9781803823508
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2024

Publication series

NameTransport and Sustainability
ISSN (Print)2044-9941
ISSN (Electronic)2044-995X

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