The Environmental and Resource Dimensions of Automated Transport: A Nexus for Enabling Vehicle Automation to Support Sustainable Urban Mobility.

In our new paper we review, conceptualize and suggest future directions for research and policy development on the diverse environmental and energy-related dimensions of automated mobility for road, rail, water, and air passenger transport.
Our conclusions suggest the automation-connectivity-electrification-sharing-multimodality nexus as the only way forward for vehicle automation to reach its pro-environmental and resource-saving potential.
Other findings include:

  • The literature tends to narrow down the terms CAVs and AVs to car-equivalents.
  • Simulations and early AV stage experiments have generated conflicting results that do not reach a clear consensus on whether automation can yield genuine benefits for the environment.
  • In all likelihood, the uptake of vehicle automation in isolation, and with an emphasis on autonomous cars, will result in moderate reductions in GHG emissions per mile that would be critically outweighed by a potentially high growth in VMT.
  • The nexus-based transition is not an easy one and has technological, market-based, behavioral, educational, and regulatory elements that need to be thoroughly studied and understood.

Great collaboration with Alexandros Nikitas and Nikolas Thomopoulos.

Open access paper.

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