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Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Levitate (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

Connected and automated transport systems (CATS) are expected to be introduced in increasing numbers over the next decade based on the rapidly developing capability of modern technologies. By 2020, 73% of new cars and trucks are expected to be connected (1), initially for infotainment and subsequently for mobility management purposes. By 2030 25% will have at least SAE L4/5 level of autonomy (2) and the remainder will be at L3.

Automated vehicles have attracted the public imagination and there are high expectations in terms of safety, mobility, environment and economic growth. By taking the human out of the loop it is theoretically possible that up to 90% of fatal crashes might be prevented (3). Vehicles that are individually connected to urban traffic management systems are expected to operate more efficiently, reducing journey time and environmental impact. There will also be a more immediate impact, particularly in urban areas, with Mobility as a Service (MaaS) applications enhancing real-time traveller choice.

There are also potential disbenefits from the introduction of CATS. For example, the transition phase to high automation may last decades when there will be a wide range of automation and connectivity across the vehicle fleet and across the traffic infrastructure. It is of wide-spread concern that there are no new safety risks introduced by inadequate control systems, transfer of control between human and vehicle and malfunctioning infrastructure. Furthermore, it is probable there will be an impact on employment where engineering jobs may reduce in line with an increase in software related positions (4). Additionally, it is expected that, while vehicle automation may bring an improvement in mobility for people with disabilities, it could have the effect of increasing traffic and road use by up to 14% (5) with a related additional environmental impact.

The LEVITATE project is focused on municipalities, regional authorities and national governments that wish to prepare for the increasing prevalence of connected and automated systems, need to understand the implications for mobility policies and wish to identify the most effective measures to achieve wider societal objectives. These authorities have a need for a new evidence-based approach to policy-making. With advanced mobility systems not yet in widespread use there is a lack of data and knowledge, some of the technologies may be disruptional so that future impacts cannot be determined from historic patterns. Furthermore, estimates of future impacts of automated and connected mobility systems may be based on forecasting approaches yet there is no agreement over the methodologies or baselines to be used. The need to measure the impact of existing systems as well as forecasting the impact of future systems represents a major challenge. Finally, the dimensions for assessment are themselves very wide including safety, mobility and environment but with many sub-divisions adding to the complexity of future mobility forecasts.

The aim of the LEVITATE project is to prepare a new impact assessment framework to enable policymakers to manage the introduction of connected and automated transport systems, maximise the benefits and utilise the technologies to achieve societal objectives.

(For references please see image attached: Levitate references.jpeg)
The work performed so far and the results achieved can be summarised as follows:

1) An effective project management function was put in place that has ensured that the work is carried out according to the grant agreement and to a high standard through a variety of means including monthly work package leader progress meetings,
regular financial monitoring, a process for the review of deliverables, a schedule of regular plenary meetings, and a data management plan.

2) Through its dissemination and communication framework the project has engaged a wide range of representatives of municipalities, regional bodies and local and national transport authorities through face to face interactive workshops,
questionnaires and webinars. Already several local authorities have understood the need for developing the 'policy support tool' (PST) and have helped shape its further development. The project team has also managed to introduce LEVITATE in a
wider context during conferences, workshops and exhibitions in Europe and beyond.

3) As part of the preparatory work for the PST substantial research was carried out to identify i) a comprehensive list of the potential impacts of connected and automated transport systems (CATS), ii) the key assessment methods that can be used
to predict the impacts and iii) the future desirable visions of transport.

4) Consultation with the stakeholder reference group during two workshops and literature research has helped create a list of policy goals and relevant indicators and identify the most promising areas of policy interventions.

5) Using the results of 3) and 4) models for forecasting the impacts of 6 policy interventions have been created and others are in progress. The sub-use cases that have been addressed so far are:
• Point to point automated urban shuttle
• Area wide automated urban shuttle
• Parking price controls for automated vehicles
• Dedicated urban lanes for automated vehicles
• Automated urban freight delivery
• Local freight consolidation and automated freight delivery

6) An interactive back-casting process has been developed for cities which will enable deep-dive case studies in the second half of the project.

7) The structure of the PST has been defined and the inclusion of two distinct modules has been agreed. Already two forecasting tools have been developed for one sub use-case (parking pricing results) for demonstration purposes.
Currently, there are no impact assessments available at the urban level that can be useful for urban planners in making their policies and strategies for planning considering connected and automated transport systems (CATS). During this project a multi-disciplinary methods approach has been operationalised to forecast the impacts from the use of CATS at the city level. By the end of the project, full assessment of identified impacts along with cost-benefit analyses will be carried out, city case studies will be provided and a fully operational policy support tool will be available. This toolbox will be useful for city and urban planners in their policy making and strategy developments involving CATS. It is hoped that this toolbox will be influential in the design of urban areas that are fair and sustainable, thereby securing a better future for everyone.