Envisioning the driverless city using backcasting and Q-methodology

Esther González-González*, Rubén Cordera, Dominic Stead, Soledad Nogués

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the expected future introduction of autonomous vehicles in cities, very few studies have analysed the needs and challenges facing urban planning. This paper employs a combination of backcasting and Q-methodology to carry out participatory visioning for a future driverless city. This novel approach was used to elaborate shared visions of the desirable city among a group of 20 citizens and 10 practitioners. Views on 41 statements were analysed relating to urban design, society, environment, transport and mobility needs. Three main visions were identified. The first focuses on high-quality urban spaces and active mobility. The second vision is more futuristic and pro-social, consistent with the more imaginative and innovative stance of young people. The third vision is more conventional and closer to business-as-usual. The results suggest that there is some agreement on the future conditions and policies, especially on the need for environmentally friendly urban development and safe urban design. The article is premised on the belief that engaging stakeholders from different backgrounds, including citizens of various ages, can be enriching for urban planning since there is a wide variety of heterogeneous preferences across society. This requires a search for common ground when designing policy measures that satisfy multiple interests.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104159
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • autonomous vehicles
  • urban planning
  • backcasting
  • Q-methodology
  • visioning


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