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The effects of automation on the transport labour force, future working conditions and skills requirements


Proposals shall address all of the following areas:

  • Assess the impacts of automation and connectivity in all modes of transport on the labour market as a whole, focusing on both direct effects on the transport workforce and indirect / induced effects in other sectors.
  • Review past/contemporary experiences from other automation-driven transitions to derive best practices in the transfer of lessons learned between different environments and social contexts.
  • Review and analyse recommendations/contributions from past/ongoing related studies, activities and H2020 R&I projects. Identify and prioritise relevant targets and elaborate an action-oriented agenda aiming to achieve at least an overall neutral impact of automation at the level of the entire economy.
  • Activate the wider engagement of the social partners and EU Member States in order to validate the agenda, as well as increase their participation and involvement in the implementation of identified actions. Develop an appropriate framework to foster collaboration and exchange of best practices at EU, national and regional level.
  • Provide a forum for EU and international stakeholders (as appropriate) in this field to exchange experiences and knowledge on the effects of transport automation on the workforce and future skills and discuss future challenges. Organise conferences and workshops in this area.

Proposed actions should build on the knowledge and results of past and/or ongoing EU-funded projects (such as SKILLFUL), addressing the socio-economic impacts of automation in transport and/or undertaking related reviews of transport jobs and future skills requirements.

In line with the Union’s strategy for international cooperation in research and automation, international cooperation is encouraged. In particular, proposal should consider cooperation with projects or partners from Canada, Japan and the US.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 2.5 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The European Commission has launched a number of initiatives, studies, workshops and conferences on the challenges and effects that digitalisation and automation in transport may have on the labour force, including on women and persons with disabilities. In road transport, studies and research projects are starting to assess on the future employment needs and the new set of skills required for automation. However, such aspects need to be further explored for all modes of transport (road, waterborne, aviation, rail), as well as in the context of urban transport, logistics and for new forms of work (for instance platform work in transport).

In particular, action is needed to ensure the preparation of a comprehensive, evidence-based, action-oriented, appropriate agenda to tackle the identified challenges. This would also require the investigation of gaps and barriers, which could potentially impede or neutralise any positive effects expected from automation. For this purpose, in order to successfully address this challenge, it is key to have a strong involvement and engagement of all relevant European stakeholders, including European, national and regional social partners[[https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=329]] (representing employers and workers) and EU Member States.

Attention should also be given to the collaboration with non-EU stakeholders where relevant, in order to solve common challenges, leverage resources, and establish long-term relationships.

  • Demonstrate the expected impacts of automation and connectivity in all modes of transport on the labour market as a whole
  • Inform, mobilise and engage all relevant European stakeholders, including the European, national and regional social partners and EU Member States, in an active dialogue on the socio-economic effects of automation on the present and future transportation workforce
  • Minimise any potential negative effects of automation on the transport labour force
  • Demonstrate the potential to achieve at least an overall neutral impact of automation for the entire society and economy.