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Open AccessArticle

Sustainable Accessibility and the Implementation of Automated Vehicles: Identifying Critical Decisions

Department of Planning and Transport, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS, UK
Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment, University of Oporto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, Porto 4200-465, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 5;
Received: 1 October 2017 / Revised: 7 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Urban Transportation and Mobility Systems)
The emergence of fully Automated Vehicles (AVs) is expected to occur in the next 10 to 30 years. The uncertainties related to AVs pose a series of questions about what the societal consequences of such technology are. Mainly, what are the consequences of AVs regarding accessibility? This paper uses Geurs and Van Wee’s definition of accessibility to give an exploratory answer to this question. Using a scenario-based approach which allows identifying critical decisions that will emerge shortly (or are already emerging) concerning automated travelling, this paper proposes that AVs have great potential to both seriously aggravate and considerably alleviate accessibility problems. A great deal will depend on how these critical decisions will be approached and the choices that will be made. This debate is most needed because existing research on AVs tends to focus on how to make them a commercially viable and safe technological enterprise, and on what their benefits and drawbacks are regarding variables such as carbon emissions, energy consumption, and total miles travelled. Narratives of this nature can be problematic, as they are unlikely to promote sufficient awareness about the real disruptive potential of AVs. It is crucial that stakeholders realise the extent to which—if the governance of AVs implementation processes is not taken very seriously, and the identified critical decisions are not carefully approached—these machines can materialise a dystopian mobility future. View Full-Text
Keywords: automated vehicles; accessibility; sustainable transport automated vehicles; accessibility; sustainable transport
MDPI and ACS Style

Papa, E.; Ferreira, A. Sustainable Accessibility and the Implementation of Automated Vehicles: Identifying Critical Decisions. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 5.

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