Emerging mobility technologies and transitions of urban space allocation in a Nordic governance context

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The landscape of urban mobility technologies is currently transitioning through the period of major uncertainties, largely driven by a multitude of emerging technologies. Such technologies include connected and self-driving vehicles, mobility-as-a-service, and shared micro-mobility, as part of larger societal trends of rapid digitalization and automation. Considering this context, there is a need for reflection on governance implications for these dynamic technologies, and accounting for their converging consequences. This research focuses in particular on Finland, as representative case of governance culture framed by Nordic social democracy, with an aim to diversify the discussion of governance implications. Moreover, Finland is an important case due to substantive pro-automation and pro-digitalization efforts in all societal sectors, including mobility, thus having overlaps between innovation and transport policy. In order to draw governance implications, analysis of policies for automation and digitalization in the mobility sector is contrasted with results from an expert-based foresight framework. The foresight framework is developed for a representative case area in the Helsinki capital region, including a set of workshops combining PESTLE technique and scenario planning. Comparative analysis of national policies and envisioned scenarios highlights several uncertainties related to operational schemes, system architecture, and cultural aspects. Consequently, a potential dissonance between governance perspectives on the national and urban level is identified through conflicts in urban space allocation and well-being consequences. Reflecting upon these challenges, discussion raises the question of data governance as potential new policy lever, first, in relation to redistribution of labor between users and technologies and compensation for shift in labor, and second, as a mechanism for collaborative technological development between public and private sector. Furthermore, discussion continues by highlighting aspects of performance measurements used in technological development, ownership and taxation models for deployment of emerging technologies, and related regulatory structure for defining the boundary between market and monopoly decision-space. Finally, a Nordic perspective on governance of emerging mobility emphasizes a need for a proactive approach to technological governance, where technological development is not solely a technical but is irreducibly a political choice. Ultimately, this research raises questions for further conceptualization of technology in transport policy and governance, and for further mechanisms for transparency and accountability in technological governance processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Form and Accessibility: Social, Economic, and Environment Impacts
PublisherElsevier
Chapter5
ISBN (Print)9780128198223
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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