Sociomobility / Public policy

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) vary widely in their levels of connectivity and autonomy, and they are always part of a larger transportation system which is in turn embedded within broader social, political, and economic contexts. Each CAV system will be deployed in a particular local/ regional context. A deployment can range from pilot tests to fully operational transportation systems.

We can think of these deployments as a stream of sociotechnical experiments, each in a unique context constituted by different objectives, technology, geography, economics, ownership, legal institutions, etc.

Simply put, the future is not inevitable. The specific scenarios for CAV utilization that unfold in specific locations will be strongly influenced by legal and policy choices, which should be informed by the needs of local populations. For example, will autonomous vehicles blend freely with regular traffic, or will they be segregated into separate lanes? Well informed policy decisions depend on gaining knowledge and experience from the early deployments that are beginning to take place now and from the people affected by them. Towards that end, both industry and society need relevant, expedient research.

On May 18-19, 2018, a workshop was held at Michigan State University: “Autonomous Vehicles in Society: Building a Research Agenda.” The workshop produced an agenda for social, economic, and policy research on connected and autonomous vehicles and infrastructure to support that research.

A whitepaper summarizing the workshop findings is available here:

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in Society: An Agenda for Social and Policy Research (PDF)


NSF Awards $2.49 Million to MSU to Study Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on the Workforce

Researchers Join Forces to Prepare the Future Workforce for Autonomous Vehicles, Using Expertise from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, and College of Social Science

Related website

Center for Business and Social Analytics


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