The Environmental and Resource Dimensions of Automated Transport: A Nexus for Enabling Vehicle Automation to Support Sustainable Urban Mobility

Reference Type:

Journal Article

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Published In:

Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Year:

2021

Author(s):

Alexandros Nikitas
Nikolas Thomopoulos
Dimitris Milakis

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Automation carries paradigm-shifting potential for urban transport and has critical sustainability dimensions for the future of our cities. This article examines the diverse environmental and energy-related dimensions of automated mobility at the city level by reviewing an emerging and increasingly diversified volume of literature for road, rail, water, and air passenger transport. The multimodal nature of this investigation provides the opportunity for a novel contribution that adds value to the literature in four distinctive ways. It reviews from a sustainability angle the state of the art underpinning the transition to a paradigm of automated mobility, identifies current knowledge gaps highlighting the scarcity of non-technical research outside the autonomous car's realm, articulates future directions for research and policy development, and proposes a conceptual model that contextualizes the automation-connectivity-electrification-sharing-multimodality nexus as the only way forward for vehicle automation to reach its pro-environmental and resource-saving potential.