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New report to aid policymakers in governing smart mobility

Published Jan 21, 2021

Self-driving cars, ridesharing, electric scooters, and other mobility services continue to make their way in to our daily lives. As cities grow the demands for effective mobility increases and requires urban transportation systems to be more integrated, to be smarter.

Smart mobility is presented as a promising solution to creating a sustainable transportation system, but it comes with risks. While all new technologies need governance, the fast pace of smart mobility brings new challenges and risks putting policymakers in the back seat. However, since smart mobility is still in its infancy, there’s still a window of opportunity for the public sector to influence its future.

ITRL researchers Anna Pernestål and Erik Almlöf participates in the project Smart Mobility Needs Smart Governance  alongside researchers from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and Lund University, as well as a strategist from the Swedish Transport Administration.

– We need to make sure that society is striving towards our goals of a sustainable future. All planning should stem from the overarching goals of, for example, carbon emission reduction, and not from new and awe-inspiring technology. Sort of a “don’t ask what you can do for self-driving cars, but ask what self-driving cars can do for us”, that is, how can smart mobility help us achieve societal goals? Says Erik Almlöf.

The project has released a report with the aim to contribute to the discussion of governing, of and with smart mobility. The report argues that policymakers need to think about their role and what resources they have, and develop a clear strategy when approaching smart mobility. Included is a checklist and 8 key messages policymakers should address and reflect on.

8 messages to policymakers for governing smart mobility

  1. Establish foundational values
  2. Everyone gains from a clear gameplan
  3. Real progress demands collaboration
  4. Citizens are more than just customers
  5. Systemic learning is important
  6. Many of today’s instruments of governance are still relevant
  7. New instruments of governance creates changing conditions
  8. Smart mobility raises questions regarding foundational principles of governance

– I hope that it can be a starting point to a broader discussion on how we want our mobility system to function. We need an active societal debate, and not just to do what we always have done, says Erik.

The project is funded by Vinnova, and has been done in cooperation with Sweden's national centre for research and education on public transport (K2).

Read more about the checklist and find the full report on the K2 website (Swedish)

Page responsible:Malin Danielsson
Belongs to: Integrated Transport Research Lab (ITRL)
Last changed: Jan 21, 2021