Digitisation and Automatisation of Transport: A Lifeworld Perspective of Travellers

Increasing participation as well as improved traffic and transport conditions especially safer transport are the promises commonly connected with a digitisation and automatisation of transport. What is needed is the well-connected traveller who by means of a smartphone and applications can choose on digital maps and pictograms where or to whom to go, who by means of these media can have access to public transport without any knowledge of complex tariff structures, who can book autonomous vehicles in order to arrive without any incident at the destination. The purpose of the paper is to show how different forms of digitisation become relevant for travellers and sink into their lifeworld. The resulting opportunities for the travellers are discussed as well as the consequences of the subsequently increasing motorised transport, the shift of responsibilities, and the large amount of data collected. In the first part of the paper the concept of a chain of trips is applied to sketch the importance of transport for participation as part of the lifeworld. It is further described how different forms of digitisation become relevant for all parts of the chain of trips and subsequently sink into the lifeworld of the travellers. By digitising geographic data, retrieving and processing them by mobile navigation devices or smartphone applications and displaying the information in familiar maps a process has started in which current, individualised and highly differentiated transport information has become an unquestioned and implicit part of the everyday life of travellers. They are sinking into the lifeworld of the travellers. Empirical data on the availability and usage of mobile digital media even by elderly travellers refer to the increasing options of scheduling, use of travel time, and mode choice. In the second part of the paper it is shown how different interest groups are pushing digitisation of transport information, booking, and pricing as well as automation of vehicles: transport companies, car manufacturers, insurance companies, and public institutions. Especially the automation of vehicles for individual transport will lead to substantial changes of the lifeworld of travellers. Though there will be some advantages due to highly automated vehicles (grade of automation according to the German federal highway research institute) substantial additional usage of travel time will rather be linked to fully automated vehicles. Only with autonomous vehicles additional groups of travellers like children and disabled travellers will get access to individual motorised transport. While public transport users remain passengers with increasing grades of automation drivers will experience a decreasing scope of action. This is the main reason for the expected increase in safety of road transport. The automatisation of road transport seems ethically required. But it also needs institutions which are capable to accompany and control a responsible programming of vehicles. Increasing grades of automation cannot be expected to substantially improve the road traffic situation the travellers experience. It is discussed why the capacity increase due to highly and fully automated vehicles is rather limited. The increase due to autonomous vehicles will be in part eroded by additional transport and empty runs. Finally, the continuing digitisation of transport will lead to a substantial increase in collection and storage of personal data especially of chains of trips of travellers. In general, navigation systems can be used offline and prepaid systems allow an anonymous access to public transport. But travellers then miss out many of the options provided by digitisation. With a further extension of the road pricing schemes an existing control infrastructure will also be extended, with increasing grades of automation of vehicles an additional control infrastructure will be erected. Therefore, additional institutions in order to control data collection, data storage, and data deletion are needed.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2019

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01749325
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 14 2020 4:12PM