In 5, 10 or 20 years… many predict the more or less rapid but inevitable arrival of driverless vehicles in our lives. But, be it in the city or in the countryside, on the road or in the air, what are citizens’ expectations as regards their spread in France? Given that mobility is at the heart of our lives and changes in our transportation system may be afoot, the question must be raised. At the initiative of Missions Publiques, the Mobile Lives Forum and a dozen other partners have come together to hold citizen debates, which will take place in five different locations in France on January 27th. We see it as an opportunity to do things differently: to find out what people actually want before introducing a new transportation system!
Debate partners (Débat citoyen sur la voiture autonome)
Missions Publiques put together a coalition of actors (local authorities, institutions, research centers and private partners) to carry out the debate : Sophia Antipolis Urban Community, La Rochelle Urban Community, Greater Paris Seine & Oise Urban Community, Rennes Conurbation, Toulouse Conurbation, The French Ecological and Solidarity Transition Department, Autonomy, Airbus, Allianz, Kéolis, The Mobile Lives Forum, Léonard (the VINCI research group institute).
Driverless vehicles, flying cars and robot pilots… for decades, such notions have animated science fiction and the collective imagination. This imaginary is gradually becoming a reality, as driverless vehicles are slowly creeping into our territories without the general public even being aware of it. Many subways, river shuttles and even buses are already autonomous.
While the topic is not new and, in fact, is a reality that we already encounter in our daily lives, why take an interest today?
Because big changes may be coming, and their impact could be considerable.
Will the arrival of autonomous vehicles be just another step in automotive and transportation history? Or, more than innovation, will it be a revolution that will deeply impact our model of society? If so, what are people waiting for? What change(s) or transition(s) do we want the autonomous vehicle to serve? The time has come to question the possible consequences of the introduction of this technology in our societies. For instance, had we foreseen the consequences of the automobile’s development – that is, making the streets dangerous for our children – would we have made the same choices?
The five debates, organized simultaneously in La Rochelle, Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Toulouse and the Greater Paris Seine & Oise Urban Community on January 27th, will examine the possible advantages for our daily lives and the risks and desires associated with these new vehicles. We will explore several scenarios that, until now, were merely the realm of science fiction.
The questions surrounding the development of this new technology are many, and the effects driverless vehicles will have on our lives potentially significant. But under what conditions? And for what mobility system? Contrary to what usually happens, we have the opportunity to find out what citizens want before introducing a new transportation system.
Why a debate? Some concrete examples.
Imagine that you have to walk 10 minutes to get to a bus stop, then have to take a subway, then have to walk. If someone offered you a vehicle, that picked you up at your door and took you to your destination for the price of a bus ticket, what would you do?
Would that mean we could leave the city for the countryside without worrying about transportation between our homes to our workplaces?
But what happens if the majority of users prefer this mode and abandon public transportation altogether? Won’t traffic congestion simply get worse?
Should its use be limited, for example, to people with reduced mobility, children or those without access to public transportation?
The debate will be facilitated by Missions Publiques, an agency specializing in the organization of citizen debates on political processes at the local, regional, national and international levels. Missions Publiques put together a coalition of actors (local authorities, institutions, research centers and private partners) to carry out the debate.
The Mobile Lives Forum is a debate partner and, as such, a member of the steering committee. As a mobility expert it is also a part of the scientific committee.
Sophia Antipolis Urban Community
La Rochelle Urban Community
Greater Paris Seine & Oise Urban Community
The Ecological and Solidarity Transition Department