How much regulation should disruptive transport technologies be subject to?

Göran Smith and Walter Theseira, Research in Transportation Economics, August 2020

In recent years, the advent of disruptive transport technologies has started to transform the transport sector. Governments are therefore challenged to find the right balance in transport governance frameworks that allows new services, practices, and entrants to emerge, but also ensures adequate and equitable service delivery, a fair and competitive landscape, and fulfillment of policy objectives. Workshop five of the 16th International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 16) focused on this challenge. Eight studies of governance approaches to ridesourcing, autonomous public transport, and Mobility-as-a-Service were reported. These examples catered for a discussion on the development status of disruptive transport technologies and on what roles governments have adopted, what types of regulations and policies they have been using, and what is known about the impacts of these approaches. Drawing on this discussion, the workshop advocates transport scholars to work on the theoretical grounding of key concepts and to elicit empirical evidence from trials and operations on disruptive transport technologies’ effects on e.g. equity, employment, and modal shares. To governments wishing to facilitate the development and diffusion of disruptive transport technologies, the workshop offers ten recommendations that in sum describe an explorative, collaborative, and reflexive governance approach.

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