Electric autonomous and connected mobility network

The case study examines the electric autonomous and connected mobility network in the EU region. Automated, electric and connected cars and other vehicles are a major step towards zero traffic deaths and the European sustainability and decarbonisation goals. Partly electric and semi-autonomous vehicles will likely be widely available by 2025 and fully electric versions by 2035. 

The shift to electric and automated vehicles requires cooperation

The deployment of these new types of vehicles poses multiple challenges to, for example, traffic control, road infrastructure, telecommunications, driver training, and battery charging infrastructure. However, the deployment is also dependent on the citizens who end up using and investing in the vehicles. 

The European Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) is an initiative that supports EU countries and manufacturers in the transition towards connected and automated driving. CCAM is currently preparing roadmaps for the deployment of autonomous vehicles together with public authorities, major industries, and research organizations. Until now, citizens have had a limited role in the transition preparations. We will study how average citizens can participate and get engaged in the sustainable mobility transition. 

We studied how citizens can get involved in the mobility transition

In the case study, we engaged with different stakeholders to better understand their rationales to engage in CCAM. The average citizen is still mostly unaware of the transition processes towards electric autonomous driving. Special attention was given to understand citizens’ understanding and engagement with CCAM and bring their views and expectations into CCAM. 

Currently CCAM remains in the collective imagination as a distant option but many of the technologies enabling it are already here. CCAM has the potential to revolutionize transport as we experience it now. Our goal was to ensure that citizens are heard and allowed to actively participate in the deployment of electric and autonomous mobility. 

The stakeholders were engaged via interviews and workshops that facilitated the design of a broader consultation with European citizens in major cities across the EU with a survey aiming to target current and potential users of CCAM. The time horizon had four moments: 1) initial consultations (early in 2022), 2) Workshop in Spring 2022, EU consultation in Summer 2022; 4) Workshop in Early winter 2022 to present results of the EU consultation. The case study was led by TNO. 

Our findings and conclusions

The descriptive analysis of the trends in CCAM engagement and drivers show that currently there is little engagement in CCAM: this reflects the level of development and deployment of the Level 3 of automation. It is worth to highlight that the level of knowledge about the CCAM transition and capacity to engage in it is quite low within the citizens. Therefore, engagement must be promoted by businesses and governments.

General overview of policy and engagement of citizens
The energy transition and climate resilience, and the transition to autonomous mobility are two trends that will influence each other in the long run. The mutual influence of different drivers creates positive synergies. Saying this, the regulatory framework for the development and deployment of the most advanced levels of automation is extensive and complex. The advent of this relatively new regulatory framework will take time to be implemented across the EU. It will require an effort not only of national authorities but also businesses to adapt and operate in this new regulatory framework.

Business and national authorities are still at the early dawn of awareness of the implications of the advent of the digital mobility and its regulatory system. Many of these regulations are not visible for the end user of these technologies, as they are embedded in the systems that provide the service of mobility, that is the vehicle and the enabling infrastructure. Most citizens operating their vehicles are not aware of the regulatory systems supporting the operation of the vehicle park beyond aspects and issues related to private insurance, road rules and licencing. The advent of new vehicles with CCAM capabilities might require more awareness of such regulatory matters in other to better adopt and use these new systems.

Key message to policymakers and business
The engagement in CCAM will be strongly moderated by age, education and income levels. Second factor concerns the enablers of engagement in the following order: knowledge (technology, benefits and cost, new rules and regulations) and the regulatory framework. Barring the above, the cooperative and digital nature of the new technology seems to demand also a shift towards a culture and social contract based in values of “community sharing and equality matching” in contrast with the current “market pricing and authority ranking”. This calls for a more decisive engagement of citizens in the development and deployment of CCAM.

Taking behavioural drivers into consideration in the design of policies promoting change and the energy transitions, is relatively new. This brings a challenge not only of designing the appropriate format of a new social contract. Also it brings the challenge of delivering a policy mix that tackles information provision, enabling power to engage and shaping the modality of interaction between actors. If we believe the empirical evidence provided in this case study, this is a new territory that must be explored and developed in order to support the energy transition.

Read more about the results in our case study report


Dr. Carlos Montalvo
Senior Research Scientist, Organization, TNO

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