In September 2019, the city of Gothenburg (CoEXist city) and Drive Sweden organised a joint seminar in Gothenburg on the topic societal development and automated mobility. The seminar was followed by a CoEXist workshop focusing on the Automation-Ready Framework concept. The seminar gathered around 100 participants from national, regional and local authorities, the industry, academia, research institutes, insurance companies and other urban transport stakeholders. Around 40 people participated in the CoEXist workshop.
Questions and uncertainties
One of the core questions raised during the seminar was:
How can cities plan for a future where connected and automatic vehicles (CAVs) constitute a natural and integrated part of the urban transport system?
Urban planners from Gothenburg City Planning Authority, Anna Svensson and Monica Wincentson presented the results of a project where the interactions between CAVs and sustainable, long-term urban planning were examined. The results of this project are particularly useful for the current work on the new comprehensive plan for central Gothenburg. In addition, Mikael Ivari, from the Urban Transport Administration in Gothenburg, introduced CoEXist project’s objectives and activities, including the Automation-Ready Framework concept.
This seminar showed that the ambition to add the CAV-dimension into the planning process is still a “travel into the unknown”. And, many questions still have rather vague answers. For instance, the local authorities are still discussing the impact of the introduction of CAVs on many aspects of spatial and mobility planning:
Can Gothenburg (and other cities) count on the fact that a CAV-revolution will lead to a substantial decrease in the need of parking spaces?
Cooperation and a technology to the service of people
The CoEXist workshop that followed was structured around the five different mobility aspects of the Automation-Ready Framework:
- Capacity building
- Traffic management
The discussions covered a variety of topics and to conclude the workshop, participants were asked to define three priorities for each of the five above-mentioned aspects. Those priorities will be a useful input in the current work of updating the Automation-Ready framework.
One of the main takeaways of the workshop is the agreement on the fact that a continued and deepened cooperation between different actors is essential to support a sustainable introduction and development of automated mobility in the city. In addition, workshop participants agreed on the fact that the everyday lives of Gothenburg’s citizens must be the driving force in this development, not technology or individual behavior. Based on this statement, a clear and inclusive political vision needs to be formulated.
Finally, the workshop participants viewed the Automation-ready Framework as a very useful tool for local authorities, in their future efforts to ensure a smooth, solid and sustainable introduction of CAVs into their road networks.