Clean, Energy-efficient and Smart Transport Systems? Exploring Key Research Questions towards 2050 workshop

Transportation stands out as a key sector when striving to decarbonize our societies. In this workshop, we will explore key issues within research on transport towards 2050, seeking to enlighten where current research is leading us, what is missing and what should be our future agenda of inquiry. A special focus will be given to the role of new technologies in transforming modes of mobility and practices of transport. Digitalization, electrification, sharing and automation are three trends that are considered important. Rather than consider these technologies as unambiguously representing progress, this workshop will investiagte them as elements that can be part of transforming societies, and life on future roads.
Such technologies might entail substantial benefits to society, but history also illustrates that new technologies often bring unforeseen social consequences. Are for instance autonomous vehicles a way of extending a non-sustainable car-based society, or will they herald a society with far fewer vehicles that are mostly shared? Will such technology democratize mobility, providing universal and instant access, or will they mainly work in highly gentrified areas, reinforcing patterns of social stratification in access to transport? Will big data from millions of vehicles primarily be used to help optimize transportation patterns and increase road safety, or will we see the emergence of new information ecologies, which will largely serve the interest of tech-giant corporations?
The answers to such questions are highly contingent on contemporary practices of innovation, planning and technology development, and the degree to which such processes reflexively engage with societal questions. Further, they depend on perceived public needs and aspirations produced in contemporary mobility culture, and the many practices that today leads people to drive, cycle, walk, and take the bus and train, and which leads companies to transport goods in the ways that they do. Hence, this workshop featuring international and national transport, mobility and innovations studies renowned scholars, will combine a future oriented gaze on expectations and imaginaries, with a contemporary focus on activities that either re-enforces or destabilizes how we as societies are mobile.
This workshop is hosted by the DRIVERS-project, funded by the Norwegian Research Councils program Transport 2025. for more