This was the Citizens' Dialogue on Automated Mobility
On Saturday April 6, 2019, automated mobility was topic to a citizen’s dialogue in five Austrian cities. Almost 170 people attended the events in Vienna, Linz, Graz, Pörtschach and Salzburg to discuss the potential of the new technology.
For a whole day, Austrian citizens discussed how automated mobility could change their lives. Together with Aachen in Germany, Austria was the first country to hold the globally organised public debate. There was a lot of room to exchange ideas and views in an open atmosphere, and also to learn about automated mobility in six different rounds of discussion.
At the beginning of each discussion, the participants had the opportunity to catch up with the technical background of the development, the legal framework conditions and definitions of the levels of driving automation. The organizers were impressed of how quickly the participants caught up with each topic and how actively and appreciatively they participated in the discussion. By June 2019, more than ten more dialogues of this kind will be held in cities throughout Europe, as well as North America and Singapore.
First results of the dialogue in Austria
Automated mobility solutions hold a lot of potential
In general, more than half of the participants stated that they feel positive about automated mobility. It was interesting to note that men are more positive about this technology than women (64% to 38%). This may be a first indication that the different needs for new mobility solutions have to be examined even more precisely in order to achieve acceptance.
Another aspect on which the participants largely agreed is the acceptance of the different levels of automation, the so-called SAE levels. While at level 2 (semi-automated systems, where drivers must have control over the vehicle at all times) 83.7% of the participants agreed completely or rather agreed to trust automated systems and tests with driverless vehicles. Only 6.1% responded with "do not know/unsure", at level 5 (fully automated driving under all conditions) only 44% agreed fully or rather and 21.7% responded with "do not know/unsure". "The more understandable and realistic the possibilities of automated mobility are communicated, the more we will trust those systems. The next step for us must therefore be, to develop a better understanding of how realistic experiences can be created and made tangible," says Martin Russ, Managing Director of AustriaTech, underlining the evaluations of the dialogue.
Our own security is always at the center of new developments
The fact that the safety aspect plays a very important role for almost all participants has been reflected in several answers. Security was the most frequently mentioned term with regard to the hopes placed in automated mobility solutions. Among the concerns, trust in the software, data security and privacy of data were among the most frequently cited terms. Some 88% of respondents said that they did not or would rather not like to see the sale of passenger data generated by automated transport systems. Data that is not vital for the proper execution of automated systems, should not be allowed to sell without the consent of each customer. "The importance of personal security is different from that of the collective. The willingness to share is much higher there and so is trust towards the operators of public transport in Austria," explains Martin Russ. For when it comes to whether urban traffic control centres can have access to passenger data generated by automated transport systems, almost 72% agreed or rather agreed. Here the public interest is the centerpiece and the respondents trust that the information will not be misused.
A successful event for participants and organisers
One goal of the five venues and organisers in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Pörtschach was to be able to respond to regional characteristics and meet the needs of the local population. The feedback during the event already showed that both organisers and participants benefitet from the open exchange.
"Salzburg is a very congested country. Together with the citizens, we weigh the pros and cons of automated mobility to get the best out of Salzburg. We are well advised to play an active role in shaping such developments." Stefan Schnöll, Transport Councillor of the Land of Salzburg"It's difficult to predict what's really coming. More educational work will be needed here. Politicians must play an active role”, said a participant in Graz"The state of Carinthia wants to further expand the pioneering role in the field of mobility that it has already assumed with the Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic in 2017. With this global citizen dialogue and we want to continue that development and help to shape the future of mobility in Europe”, Albert Kreiner, State of Carinthia"The subject has hit me hard! As a visually impaired person I have high hopes for the new technology and hope to be able to use a fully automated car on my own". A participant in Linz
"Technology is important, but people must always be at the centre. Automated mobility is not an end in itself, but serves to make the city a better, more sustainable place to live." Thomas Madreiter, Planning Director of the City of Vienna
Next steps and detailed evaluation of results
"It has become clear that not only citizens have unsolved questions about automated mobility, but we, the experts, as well. This makes dialogues like these all the more important, especially if they can reveal regional and national differences or similarities. By participating in this dialogue, the citizens have given us perspectives that are most important to them. They told us their picture of the future. This now needs to be taken into account in further activities and measures," said Russ. All results were fed into a common database. The data will be evaluated anonymously at the end of the discussion series and the results will be compared with each other. The overall evaluation and interpretation of the results will be officially presented in autumn 2019 after all citizen dialogues have been completed.
Further information is available at www.austriatech.at/Citizensdebate
More information on the cities/regions where the citizens' dialogue took place:
- Partners: Styria, City of Graz and Mobility Lab Graz
- Partner: Directorate of Road Construction and Transport of the Province of Upper Austria
- Partners: SURAAA (Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic), Prometeus and Land Carinthia
- Partner: Province of Salzburg, Organizer: Salzburg Research
- Partners: City of Vienna, Municipal Department 18 - Urban Development and Planning
About the Global Citizens' Dialogue on Automated Mobility The Global Citizens' Dialogue is an initiative of Mission Publiques, a consultancy specialising in participative processes. AustriaTech – Agency for technological measures, is the national coordinator of the citizen dialogue on automated mobility. As the national contact point for automated mobility, AustriaTech is the first hand contact for organisations who want to test automated vehicles on Austrian roads with public transport. It also promotes the exchange of knowledge through the targeted networking of all stakeholders. AustriaTech is a company of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology.