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Governing the Race to Automation

Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition

ISBN: 978-1-78754-320-1, eISBN: 978-1-78754-317-1

Publication date: 13 March 2018


Automated vehicle technologies dominate many visions of future systems of smart mobility. This chapter uses the approach of Transition Management to explore the multi-actor governance processes around automated vehicle technologies in the United Kingdom (UK), with specific attention being paid to the role of the UK government. It shows the relatively comprehensive approach to automated vehicle innovation that has been adopted by the UK government, emerging across multiple domains including the creation of positive discourses around automation, and the facilitation of network building and demonstration projects. Framed by the Transition Management cycle of strategic, tactical, operational and reflexive activities, the chapter argues for greater integration across the levels of the cycle, and experimentation that moves beyond technological capability, to include the heterogeneous publics, in a more diverse set of roles than the current framing of ‘potential technology adopter’. The chapter points to the techno-optimism displayed by governments participating in the international race to vehicle automation, often with dual roles as both producers and consumers, and suggest that greater inclusivity, democracy, diversity and openness in the innovation process may contribute to context sensitive implementation.




This work was supported by the Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) Energy Programme (grant EP/K011790/1, ‘Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand’ (CIED)).


Hopkins, D. and Schwanen, T. (2018), "Governing the Race to Automation", Marsden, G. and Reardon, L. (Ed.) Governance of the Smart Mobility Transition, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 65-84.



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