New research article-The transition to autonomous cars, the redesign of cities and the future of urban sustainability

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UGAutonomous cars controlled by an artificial intelligence are increasingly being integrated in the transport portfolio of cities, with strong repercussions for the design and sustainability of the built environment. This paper sheds light on the urban transition to autonomous transport, in a threefold manner. First, we advance a theoretical framework to understand the diffusion of autonomous cars in cities, on the basis of three interconnected factors: social attitudes, technological innovation and urban politics. Second, we draw upon an in-depth survey conducted in Dublin (1,233 respondents), to provide empirical evidence of (a) the public interest in autonomous cars and the intention to use them once available, (b) the fears and concerns that individuals have regarding autonomous vehicles and (c) how people intend to employ this new form of transport. Third, we use the empirics generated via the survey as a stepping stone to discuss possible urban futures, focusing on the changes in urban design and sustainability that the transition to autonomous transport is likely to trigger. Interpreting the data through the lens of smart and neoliberal urbanism, we picture a complex urban geography characterized by shared and private autonomous vehicles, human drivers and artificial intelligences overlapping and competing for urban spaces.

New open access research paper on car-sharing

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Major cities in developing countries are increasingly becoming motorized. Thus, effective solutions to address the negative impacts that come with rising car-ownership are needed as part of an overall travel demand management strategy. In developed and emerging economies, shared-mobility in the form of car-sharing is becoming popular as potentially low-cost and environmentally sustainable alternative to car-ownership. Yet, our understanding of car-sharing adoption and diffusion factors in developing countries is limited. In this study, we fill this gap by examining car-sharing adoption intentions among young adults aged between 18 and 35 years in Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa. Using structural equation modelling, we model car-sharing adoption intentions based on a framework that integrates individuals’ perception of the benefits of car-sharing, attitudes towards the environment and technology, trust of stewardship in car-sharing, perception of innovativeness of car-sharing, travel expectations and socio-demographic factors. We found that pro-technology and pro-environmental attitudes correlate positively with perceived benefits of car-sharing. Perceived benefits of car-sharing, in turn, has the largest predictive effect on intentions to car-share. Other factors, including individuals’ previous experience using Uber on-demand taxi services, gender, education, driver’s licensure and expectation of comfortable and fast travel options, all predict car-sharing adoption intentions. While there exists an interest in both station-based and free-floating car-sharing services, more of the would-be users favour the latter than the former. Also, majority of the potential adopters (62%) would join a car-sharing service within the first one year of its introduction. An important finding is that dissatisfaction with existing public transit services underpins car-sharing intentions, implying that relying on car-sharing alone to meet travel needs, without a holistic strategy of providing quality and affordable public transit services, could lead to unsustainable outcomes