Local government

What could the future of driverless vehicles look like in Greater Manchester?

Driverless Vehicles Citizens' Conversation
Missions Publiques, Transport for Greater Manchester, UCL
October 2019

In October 2019 we worked with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to run a Citizens’ Conversation on the future of driverless vehicles in Greater Manchester. This was part of a World Wide Views series organised by French think-tank Missions Publiques, who coordinated citizens’ debates on this topic across Europe, North America and Singapore.

Background to this project

The development of driverless vehicles is a potential revolution not only on a technological level, but also on economic and social levels. Whether, and potentially how, they develop could have major impacts on people's lives depending on the priorities which are set and the issues which are addressed through the development of driverless vehicles. This is not a question limited to transport or infrastructure but raises questions of trust in artificial intelligence, surveillance, and equality. 

Missions Publiques coordinated this series of debates across Europe, North America and Singapore. Through local partners, such as TfGM, these events will help the views of local citizens' inform the policies of local areas, such as Greater Manchester. The events also brought together different perspectives on this technology from across the world. Missions Publiques pooled the results and findings in their report to identify global trends and ideas on driverless vehicles. 

How did deliberative methods contribute to this project?

The overall project aims were to:

  • Learn what people in Greater Manchester think about driverless mobility
  • Feed citizen views into new policy in this area
  • Support public and private decision-makers to achieve multi-stakeholder governance and improve the legitimacy of decision-making around this technology

The Citizens’ Conversation was designed to allow participants to become sufficiently informed with enough time to reach conclusions to achieve these aims. Participants worked together on small tables to explore how their lives might be impacted by the introduction of driverless vehicles. They identified what their priorities and concerns would be, how the technology could be regulated and how their ideas might be put into action in Greater Manchester. 

Attendees were led through this process by a lead facilitator and table facilitators to ensure all participants were able to express their views, and identify what factors are most important to them when considering what futures with driverless vehicles could look like.

Download the report from the citizens' conversation as a PDF below. Please get in touch if you need this in a different format.