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Freeing the Road

Freeing the Road

Florian Ranft, Martin Adler, Patrick Diamond, Eugenia Guerrero & Matthew Laza

30 November 2016

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Shaping the Future for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles (AV) have longed seemed like something from Tomorrow’s World – a technological development that politicians, regulators and policymakers could put off thinking about until long into the future. Now, with the first mass market AVs set to roll off the production line, Europe’s policymakers must fast catch up with technological and commercial reality.

AVs not only have the potential to fundamentally reshape Europe’s strategically vital automotive industry; they will change how citizens interact with motor vehicles, transform patterns of connectivity, and offer social and environmental benefits to the whole of society. The future vision is of a driverless, safer and more efficient transport system that will connect individuals and businesses throughout Europe.

European countries are beginning to engage with the changes that AVs will bring. However, to reap the benefits of the new transport technology, leadership will be needed at all levels to maximise the potential of AVs in the 21st century.

This major new report, prepared with support from Nissan Europe, examines the regulatory landscape across Europe, with particular focus on the key markets of Germany, Spain and the UK.

It finds that the economic and social benefits could be huge - if policymakers get it right a successful transition to autonomous drive could deliver up to a €17tn to the EU 28 economy by 2050.

But that remains a big 'if'. Making that transition will require a more rigorous response from European policy-making institutions at the EU, national, regional and city level than has yet been seen.

Freeing the Road sets out a dozen concrete policy recommendations that will need to be adopted to ensure the benefits of AVs are felt by the whole of society.

A rapid-read version of this comprehensive study is available here.


About the authors

Florian Ranft

Florian leads Policy Network’s work on European policy, focusing on the political economy, future of work, labour markets and regulatory frameworks. He holds a diploma and a PhD in politics from the University of Potsdam and the University of Greifswald, respectively. He has lectured and researched in international politics at a number of universities, research institutes and international organisations in Europe, America and Africa.

Martin Adler

Martin Adler is an economist and works as an external research advisor for the VU University Amsterdam. He is also the founder of the consultancy AtAdlerAdvisory which specialises in transportation and urban issues. Among others, he has advised the OECD, European governments, European commission and international firms on the cost and benefits of public transit, road congestion management policies, accident prevention and urban transformation. He has received the Edwin-von-Boventer prize for his contributions to regional science.

Patrick Diamond

Patrick is co-chair of Policy Network. He is lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary, University of London; Gwilym Gibbon fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford; and a visiting fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Oxford. He is the former head of policy planning in 10 Downing Street and senior policy adviser to the prime minister. Patrick has spent ten years as a special adviser in various roles at the heart of British government, including 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, and the Northern Ireland Office.

Eugenia Guerrero

Eugenia is a policy researcher at Policy Network. She holds a diploma in Political Economy, King’s College London. Previously, she was a research assistant at King’s College London, working on understanding and quantifying violence trends under authoritarian governments. She also has worked in financial start-ups (Elixium), in development banks (Nafinsa), in trade promotion (ProMexico) and in diplomacy (Mexican Embassy of London).

Matthew Laza

Matthew is the director of Policy Network and an experienced broadcast journalist who spent more than a dozen years as a BBC current affairs programme maker before becoming a senior adviser to the UK Leader of the Opposition in the run up to the 2015 election. Before entering television he led the main Labour Party pro-European organisation, campaigning for Britain’s leading role in Europe.

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