Autonomous Vehicles and future Urban Environments: Implications for wellbeing in an ageing society

Status: Completed

Dates: 2017 - 2018

Māori Relevant Content: Yes


  • Building Research Association of New Zealand (Building Research, 2017 - 2018)

Project Abstract

Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to trigger transformational change for urban environments and communities. Autonomous vehicle trials are currently underway around the world (including in New Zealand), and expert opinions on when fully autonomous vehicles will be publicly available vary between around five and twenty-five years from now. Partial automation is already available and trajectories towards the adoption of further automation will become increasingly difficult to influence as time frames reduce. The impacts of technology adoption are unclear, but automated vehicles could contribute to the wellbeing of an ageing population by providing mobility and enduring social, cultural and economic participation. In contrast expensive, complex, and rapidly evolving technologies, coupled with dispersed urban form, could exacerbate the exclusion and isolation of some older people. Older adults’ needs have typically been neglected in urban planning, but this can no longer happen given the ageing population. This research will ensure that implications for urban environments and wellbeing are considered and appropriate actions can be taken before widespread use of autonomous vehicles occurs.

Researchers - UC Staff

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • Bob Frame: Associate Investigator; Independent

Subject Area: Disciplines