Self-driving vehicles are being piloted in cities across the world. E-scooters have quickly transformed how streets and pavements are used. Satellite-based road pricing can replace tolling and fuel taxes. Digital apps can connect the public transport with shared mobility offers.

The new technologies offer the promise of greener, easier, and quicker transportation. Increased urban populations already put strain on existing transportation systems, and the covid-19 pandemic led to shifts in public transport use. These major changes make the future uncertain, and citizens easily feel overwhelmed with the new possibilities.

Data and public spaces are being contested

New transport solutions have already hit the streets, and early adopters have eagerly used e-scooters and apps to travel in new ways. But the shift has also faced backlash and criticism, and current regulations are not adapted to the new reality. Fundamental questions need to be answered to effectively regulate the new technologies, such as:

  • How do we share public spaces? E-scooters and self-driving vehicles are using public spaces in new ways that often interfere with the access we are used to. Should there be free reign of who uses public spaces, should there be a ban on public space use by private companies, or are there smart ways of regulating the use, enabled by the digital nature of these technologies?
  • How do we encourage innovation while maintaining safety? Traffic safety is paramount, and there is reluctance to allow new vehicles on the road. But new technologies can offer benefits to both users and society and have the potential to increase safety on the road. There is a challenge in allowing innovation and new solutions, while not compromising on safety.
  • Who should own the data? With digital solutions, data is generated continuously. This data can be highly sensitive, showing your location historically and in real-time, presenting a risk both to individuals and society. To manage data optimally, the question of ownership is important. The individual could have all rights, companies be allowed to anonymize data and then collect it, and local and national authorities could be given the right to collect all data to optimize transport systems.

Project plan

This project involves citizens and stakeholders in forward looking discussions on new transport technologies. The project uses scenario workshops, focus groups and public polls to create an overview of opinions on new transport technologies. In addition, the project will give an overview of regulations and policy options.

The project builds on knowledge and material from the RegSmart-project which lasted from 2018-2021 and is expected to be finalized by the summer of 2022.

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