Reconsidering AVs future: A socio-spatial perspective

Ju Hyun Lee, Tommy Tae-Hyoung Gim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Can Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) contribute to a balanced distribution of accessibility? Despite optimism regarding technological advancements in transport, social outcomes from AVs are highly uncertain, dependent on unknowns including technology and transport mode. We aim to critically consider how different AVs’ future situations influence accessibility, grounded on continuous debates on the socio-spatial implications of transport development. Referring to the two key uncertain factors, we deliberated spatial changes that could be induced by AVs, and reflect how such changes might influence accessibility and equity. Our research indicated that high automation and strong shared mobility together can enhance accessibility for all if shared autonomous vehicles are affordable and available for disadvantaged areas. High automation without shared mobility can have negative impacts in inner cities, due to increasing congestion and limited opportunities for effective land development. With limited automation and strong shared mobility, we may see better distribution of accessibility across a wider area, owing to advanced public transport and mobility hub development. We posit that, despite high expectations, the socio-spatial consequences of AVs are far from certain and critical conditions necessary for accessibility for all in varied mobility futures should be carefully considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102618
JournalTechnology in Society
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2024


  • Accessibility
  • Automation
  • Cities
  • Equity
  • Social outcomes
  • Technology
  • autonomous vehicles


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