Shaping Smart Mobility Futures: Governance and Policy Instruments in times of Sustainability Transitions

Cover of Shaping Smart Mobility Futures: Governance and Policy Instruments in times of Sustainability Transitions
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Synopsis

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xv
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Abstract

The point of departure of this book is that smart mobility will only be developed in a desired direction and fulfil societal objectives if it is steered in that direction. The market, left to itself, will most certainly not deliver on these objectives. This message has been conveyed extensively in recent literature, but this book aims to take this discussion one step further by focussing on what governance of smart mobility looks like today and in the future. In this introductory chapter, the authors provide a framework of different understandings of policy instruments, how they are selected, developed and used. After the array of policy instruments within the transport sector has been extensively discussed, the authors turn to discussing a broader understanding of policy instruments found within political science and political sociology. In doing so, this book contributes to the critical scholarship on policy instruments, while exploring the why, the how and the what of policy instruments in relation to smart mobility. The chapter closes with a brief introduction to the structure of the book as well as a description of the content of each chapter.

Part I

Abstract

There are different narratives surrounding smart mobility, which can sometimes even appear as opposing (Lyons, 2018). Its fiercest proponents are promising versions of a revolutionised future, where users have on-demand access to multiple mobility options and are freed from car ownership, while transport systems become carbon neutral and congestion is a problem of a bygone age (Sherman, 2019). At the same time, the plausibility of such visions of the future has been questioned, with critics warning against the potentially negative impacts of the widespread adoption of privately provided services and stressing the need for state intervention to avoid exacerbating ‘classic’ transport issues such as congestion and unequal access to services, as well as creating new challenges such as uncontrolled market monopolies (Docherty, Marsden, & Anable, 2018). Drawing from these narratives, this chapter explores how officials from English transport authorities see state intervention evolve in the future, and what accountability arrangements are necessary to achieve the level of steering they envisage. Based on interviews with local authority officials, this chapter shows that the officials’ views generally align more closely with the narrative of providers than with that of critics. Although different local authorities envisage varying levels of control and steering of smart mobility, they all expect new services to improve the local transport provision. This chapter also discusses the barriers local authorities face in shaping local accountability arrangements.

Abstract

Automated vehicles are likely to have significant impacts on the transport system such as increased road capacity, more productive/enjoyable time spent travelling in a car, and increased vehicle kilometres travelled. However, there is a great risk that automated driving may negatively impact the environment if adequate policies are not put in place. This chapter examines the effects of driverless vehicles and the types of policies required to attain sustainable implementation of the technology. To understand the effects on a systemic level, and to understand the needs and impacts of policies, the dynamics must be understood. Therefore, a causal loop diagram (CLD) is developed and analysed. One important insight is that the effects of driverless vehicles are mainly on the vehicular level (e.g., the reduced number of accidents per vehicle). These effects can be cancelled out on a systemic level (e.g., due to increased vehicle-kilometre travelled (VKT) that increases total number of accidents). The marginal costs of road transport are central to both freight and passenger transport. Automation will reduce marginal costs and shift the equilibrium in the transport system towards a state with higher VKT. This will lead to greater energy consumption and higher emissions. To attain sustainability goals, there might be a need to balance this reduction of marginal costs by using policy instruments. In the work, CLDs is experienced to be a useful tool to support the collaboration between experts from different fields in the dialogue about policies.

Part II

Abstract

The transition to a future of ‘Smart Mobility’ – a mobility system characterised by real time organisation via the internet incorporating technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles – has the potential to transform many aspects of everyday life. Many countries have evolved a system of ‘multi-level governance’ (MLG) to manage the formulation and implementation of public policies at different spatial scales. Whilst MLG has several potential advantages, such as providing multiple sites for policy innovation and de-risking the implementation of new policies by piloting them in particular places, the existence of many different governing tiers with different priorities and mandates requires skilful management and coordination. The management of any substantive, disruptive transition such as that to Smart Mobility is challenging for the policy system per se; for countries with MLG systems, the task is made more complex still by the need to achieve sufficient policy alignment between different tiers and entities of governance to implement new policy instruments in practice. The specific instruments of transport pricing and roadspace reallocation provide clear examples of these challenges and pointers to how implementation questions might be resolved in an MLG framework.

Abstract

Modelling has been a mainstay of conventional planning support tools (PSTs) since the 1960s and is instrumental in transport and land use planning decision-making. Numerous studies have been conducted to model the potential impacts of emerging vehicle automation and sharing technologies. A systematic review of recent modelling studies of autonomous and shared vehicles in the research literature examines the extent of their contribution to ‘smart’ mobility knowledge. The findings suggest a limited knowledge base from which to support future planning. PSTs that can offer more pluralistic, discursive, and transparent methods in order to understand and proactively shape a transition to a planned urban future are also needed.

Abstract

New economies based on emerging technologies for shared mobility and autonomous vehicles will shape future urban transport systems, but their potential impacts are uncertain. Internationally, government agencies face difficult challenges to effectively plan and regulate the deployment of these technologies for the common good, whilst simultaneously encouraging innovation. Being both a facilitator and an umpire is not an easy task. This chapter draws on a series of interviews with public and private-sector actors in urban transport in Australia. Unsurprisingly, all private-sector respondents had significant concerns for the sustainability of their business in the emerging mobility markets, but it was generally acknowledged that without government support and partnership, a lack of structure and clarity could lead to natural monopolies with negative consequences for competition and the public good. Strong and clear government regulation is seen to be necessary to allow the sector to reach its maximum potential and have positive ramifications for both the public and the private good – outcome not always seen as compatible. Public-sector interviewees generally recognised that much of the necessary innovation was being shaped by the market, and that there had been a considerable loss of skills over decades from the state because of neo-liberal policies. So, some doubted the ability of the state to shape developments using currently available planning and public policy methods and feared that it would be difficult to regulate emergent markets to prevent monopolies emerging. On the other hand, some argued that many firms are looking to government for frameworks in which businesses can operate successfully by setting conditions in which risks could be managed. This chapter discusses these issues, seeking to guide research agendas and to foster further debate. The evidence gained from these in-depth interviews helps focus attention on which forms of regulation might be required by industry. It also raises questions about the capacity of government agencies to effectively manage these complex transitions.

Abstract

New forms of ‘smart’ mobility have emerged with the advance of information technology. From a public sector perspective, these ambitions have been framed both in terms of innovation and sustainability. The development work of these technologies is in part being subsidised by public actors investing in and funding different types of pilots or experiments in order to ‘test’ these technologies in what is called a real-life environment. This is part of a larger trend of experimental governance in which smart mobility is an important and a possibly growing part. This chapter offers a conceptual analysis of experimental governance by analysing three underlying assumptions in literature and practice (1) the need for extraordinary solutions, (2) the importance of learning by doing and (3) the necessity of collaboration. These three assumptions are analysed in relation to smart mobility experiments in Sweden, and discussed in relation to public values. The concluding discussion elevates a number of normative implications of using experimental governance as a policy instrument for the development of smart mobility.

Part III

Abstract

With the plethora of smart mobility innovations, their applications, and their pace of change, it is easy to get distracted by what these innovations can (potentially) do, rather than what we want or need them to do, if we are to meet our societal goals. The focus of this chapter is therefore on the extent to which smart mobility can help create policy change towards the goal of low carbon mobility. The concept of policy is broken down into its component parts, to outline the relationship between policy goals and policy instruments, and identifies the key tools underpinning policy instruments. In turn, the chapter situates policy instruments within an understanding of policy change and triggers for policy change, arguing there are two key ways in which transformative change can occur; exogenously and endogenously. The chapter argues that the onset of smart mobility does not suggest an exogenous shock to the current policy system, in which smart mobility disrupts the authority and beliefs inherent within the current policy approach to mobility. Smart mobility therefore in and of itself is unlikely to lead to a radical policy shift towards low carbon. However, in understanding smart mobility innovations as policy instruments, it is possible to envisage smart mobility incrementally changing policy towards low carbon mobility, if opportunities for reflexivity and learning are embedded within local policy contexts.

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to analyse how the governing capacity of current policy instruments might be affected in futures of smart mobility. In order to explore this issue, the authors make use of the so-called NATO (nodality, authority, treasure, organisation) framework for analysing two contrasting scenarios. The analyses show that the overall governing capacity of many of the policy instruments is strengthened or maintained in both of the scenarios. However, the governing capacity of some policy instruments is reduced, and some seem to need calibration, not least because authorities’ access to and control over data are under question. Future governing capacity hinges on access to data, although all resources are, in one way or another, affected.

Abstract

Shared, dockless micromobility is causing concern across the globe. The phenomenon started with shared bikes and e-bikes. More recently, e-scooters (or electric kickbikes), the focus of this chapter, have flooded cities in unprecedented speed and volume – and have caught virtually every city and competent authority off guard. The failure of current regulatory frameworks to address new challenges posed by e-scooters is explored. This chapter first briefly describes major developments of the shared e-scooter market. It then presents rationales for, and to some extent against, e-scooter regulation as well as policy tools available for e-scooter regulation. E-scooters open the door for new and innovative – and potentially efficient – ways to regulate, including geofencing, zoning, mandatory data sharing and mandatory cooperation. Against this backdrop, the chapter discusses regulatory dilemmas, challenges, opportunities and possibilities.

Abstract

There is a heavy dependence on cars for people living in rural areas and small towns. The countryside has so far been left out of the transition to carbon-free transport, and public transport shares are low in rural areas. New information and communication technology (ICT) solutions and autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to improve the conditions for public transport in rural areas, as they may increase efficiency and reduce costs. Still, these technological novelties are rarely tested in rural settings and policy focus and pilot tests have occurred almost exclusively in cities. The aim of this chapter is to explore the conditions and challenges for public transport in rural areas through ICT and AVs. The authors will discuss how policy focus needs to change to increase attention to rural areas and give suggestions on concrete policy measures that can be used. In the chapter, the authors draw empirically on results from two research projects in Sweden about the conditions for public transport in rural areas and ongoing tests with new ICT solutions.

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors will summarise the entire book and look ahead. The aim of this book has been to take the calls for governance of smart mobility one step further by analysing and discussing current and future policy instruments to govern smart mobility. The task has been carried out by discussing the why, how and what of policy instruments. So far, the policy instruments governing smart mobility to a large extent are focussed on understanding this new field of mobility, establishing relations and roles between companies and authorities, and making the field governable. What is lacking in this equation are policy instruments that establish the population as citizens with rights, voices and roles. In order to align the smart mobility transition and the transition towards a sustainable society, the authors consider the development of deliberative citizen participation an important initiative and the authors suggest it as an important field for future research.

Index

Pages 221-227
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Cover of Shaping Smart Mobility Futures: Governance and Policy Instruments in times of Sustainability Transitions
DOI
10.1108/9781839826504
Publication date
2020-08-13
Editors
ISBN
978-1-83982-651-1
eISBN
978-1-83982-650-4