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Online lecture by Miloš N. Mladenović (Aalto University): How should we govern emerging urban mobility technologies?

30 March 2020 , Geography Dept. - Room F 4.66- (VUB - Pleinlaan 2, BE-1050 Brussels, Building F) at 14.30h ATTENTION: this lecture is NOT cancelled and will take place virtually. The lecture is open for anyone to attend. Please contact for more details.

Currently in their foundational stage, different emerging urban mobility technologies bring about significant uncertainties, thus indicating a societally- wide disruption. Such technologies include on-demand micro transit, vehicle and ride sharing, vehicle connectivity and electrification, mobility service packaging, and vehicle automation. In this context of rapidly and non-linearly evolving technologies, one cannot disentangle envisioning futures from fundamental social justice questions of (re)distribution of societal benefits and burdens. Decision-making in this domain of emerging mobility technologies faces a classic Collingridge double-bind dilemma.

This  dilemma  contrasts  the early stage of development, when change is easy but there is uncertainty about consequences, with the later stages of technological maturity, associated with a lock-in when the technology has become societally embedded. This dilemma is at the core of challenges for steering development of an emerging technology, highlighting the need for governing responsible innovation processes that would avoid different types of technological determinism and lock-in. Contrastingly, the need for strategies to cope with this disruption has recently been recognized through several governance and planning efforts. Despite their fruitfulness, lack of  an  elaborated  understanding  of  emerging technology  as  a  socio-technical phenomenon  remains  an  underlying  challenge.  On  the contrary,  reclaiming technological  futures  as  plannable  space  requires  understanding  that human ends are not well-defined and static, as well as that technology does not have an unstoppable, and thus unquestionable, momentum. At the central point of contention, lies an argument for replacing the language of unintended with the language of unanticipated consequences. Furthermore, we have to recognize the threat of anticipation inequality if we solely rely on expert-based practices and   rhetoric.   For   supporting   divergent   envisioning   efforts, a phase of participatory expansion of the technological horizons for (un)desirable futures is proposed,  including  some  implemented  examples  from  around  the  world. Finally, a conclusive reflection points towards a range of challenges for inter- organizational learning in coping with contingencies.

Bio speaker:

Miloš  N.  Mladenović  is  an  Assistant  Professor  at  the  Spatial  Planning  and Transportation Engineering Group, Department of Built Environment. Miloš has obtained his BSc in Transport Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and his MSc and PhD in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, USA. In addition, he has held a visiting research position at the Spatial Planning  and  Strategy  chair,  Delft  University  of  Technology,  the  Netherlands.  His  current research   interests   include   assessment   and   governance   of   ITS   and   emerging mobility technologies, as well as development of planning-support methods. His previous and current teaching responsibilities include a range of courses in transport systems planning and
policy, transport modeling, traffic management,  and  street design. Miloš  is currently finishing his engagement within the Commission expert group advising on specific ethical issues raised by driverless  mobility,  and  is  editorial  board  member  in  the  European  Transport  Research Review. Finally, he has been the organizing chair for the Aalto University Summer School on Transportation since 2015.

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