Mobility revolution offers great opportunities

The revolution in mobility technology is creating great opportunities for cutting emissions but there are challenges too according to a new study.

The study – Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon? – the combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles.

However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximise them according to the work by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.

The research also suggests that in order to realise the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper much more work needs to be done to encourage shared car ownership.

Commenting on the research, the LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake said, ‘It’s clear that there are significant potential benefits from the coming mobility revolution through connectivity and automation. However, in order to grasp the full environmental benefits of these technologies we need a strategic, coordinated policy response that will have to involve a wide range of stakeholders working in partnership.’

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said, ‘Autonomous and connected vehicles have the potential to revolutionise our road transport. Whilst they could make our roads safer we are yet to fully understand the impact on congestion and, ultimately, the energy consumption associated with the vehicles. The UK needs to have a better understanding of future scenarios, gaining insight into how the end users may adopt this technology. In addition to gaining public consensus Government and industry need to work together to establish a co-ordinated transport policy to make the most of these technological developments.’