Motoring of the future - Transport Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Vision and strategy

1.  The DfT has not implemented a coherent, joined-up strategy to link the development and implementation of new automotive technology to the achievement of its wider policy goals. (Paragraph 12)

2.  The DfT should develop a comprehensive, accessible vision to shape motoring of the future in partnership with other Government Departments and agencies. This needs to convey a coherent set of objectives, describe a co-ordinated set of actions necessary to deliver those objectives and make links to the delivery of wider policy objectives. We recommend that the strategy includes six key objectives:

·  reduced or eliminated fatalities and serious injuries on roads;

·  reduced emissions from road transport;

·  increased road capacity through the use of technology rather than road building;

·  protection for citizens against the risk of cyber-attack;

·  enhanced social inclusion through more accessible road transport; and

·  support for economic growth. (Paragraph 14)


3.  It is clear from the evidence that the DfT needs to conduct further research on the technical and behavioural aspects of safety systems in vehicles. The initiative to eliminate fatalities and injuries on Sweden's roads demonstrates how government can link technological development to increase safety by setting targets. We recognise that this approach could deliver benefits in vehicle safety, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure networks. The DfT should consider what impact setting targets to reduce serious injuries and fatalities might have on road safety in the UK. (Paragraph 26)

Autonomous and connected vehicles

4.  The DfT should prepare for a transition period when manual, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles are all running together on UK roads. During the transition period only some of the benefits promised by autonomous vehicles and the application of modern communications technology to motoring will be realised. The full benefits cannot be realised until there is wide uptake of such technologies. It is also important that the DfT clarifies how liabilities will be apportioned in such circumstances. (Paragraph 31)

5.  The DfT should identify technologies whose introduction needs to be accelerated and devise a range of fiscal and other incentives to increase their rate of adoption. Such an approach would build on current policy in relation to vehicle emissions, where low-emission vehicles are subject to lower rates of vehicle excise duty. In the past, the gradual tightening of certification and testing requirements has reduced engine emissions, and a similar approach could be used now to accelerate take-up. Potential levers to nudge behaviour include type certification, road worthiness standards, mandating the fitting of particular technologies to new and existing vehicles by a specified date, scrappage schemes and fiscal incentives. Some of those levers may be helpful in tackling more than one issue—a scrappage scheme could see improvements to emissions and safety—and the DfT might wish to prioritise measures which help to secure more than one benefit. The DfT should also take account of the relative efficiency and effectiveness of these measures in delivering the changes required. (Paragraph 32)

Big data

6.  Telematics offers an invaluable source of data to inform policy making to improve driving behaviour and safety. For example, information derived from telematics could be used to manage traffic flows or to inform highways design. Fleet managers are using telematics to improve the driving of their vehicles and insurance companies are collecting data from a growing number of drivers. There is no evidence to suggest that the DfT has taken steps to determine how such new sources of information could be used to inform policy making. The DfT should work with representatives from the whole of the insurance industry and others who hold data on driving—for example, motor manufacturers, manufacturers of satellite navigation systems and fleet owners and operators—to see what use it might make of anonymised data from vehicles and how this can be combined with existing information from the Highways Agency to inform policy. In analysing such data, the DfT must take into account the nature of the information and the extent to which its source may skew the conclusions that can be drawn from it—for example, telematics data from insurance companies may be drawn from self-selecting group of drivers and material from fleet operators who have large numbers of delivery drivers may be atypical. (Paragraph 37)

Data governance

7.  The vast quantity of transport data now available presents tremendous opportunities to provide smarter, more efficient and more personalised transport systems. However, greater clarity is required on the practical application of data governance legislation. The DfT must ask the Information Commissioner to review the current rules and guidance on access to fleet and driver information and the rights of drivers and other interested parties to access vehicle data and to publish updated guidelines on the collection, access and use of vehicle data. (Paragraph 40)

Role of OLEV

8.  Low carbon vehicles are set to make up an increasing proportion of the vehicle fleet and will form a key part of the UK's motoring future. Adoption has been slower than projected, but it is now starting to accelerate. Different technologies are becoming available, but drivers need more incentives to switch to low emission vehicles, confidence that refuelling infrastructure will be available and certainty in the Government's long-term policies on investment, subsidy and taxation regimes. The creation of OLEV has been a positive step, but implementing its strategy will be challenging. Future fuels can contribute to UK decarbonisation and air quality targets. Government cannot pick a winner, but it can provide certainty for market participants to incentivise investment. (Paragraph 51)

9.  The DfT should ensure that OLEV:

·  clarifies long-term policies on investment, subsidy and taxation regimes for ULEVs;

·  sets out an action plan for accelerating the uptake of ULEVs, including an assessment of how different incentives could contribute to that objective; and

·  defines a strategy to meet European Commission targets on refuelling infrastructure in UK. (Paragraph 52)

Regulatory framework

10.  Legislation covering driving, road use and vehicle type approvals—vehicle type approval confirms that a design will meet a particular performance standard—must be revised if autonomous vehicles are to operate on UK roads. The DfT must not allow UK legislation to fall behind both the pace of technological change and legislation in other countries. (Paragraph 58)

11.  A failure to update legislation in line with the development of new technology may disadvantage the UK automotive industry. (Paragraph 58)

12.  We welcome the publication of the Government's regulatory review, The pathway to driverless cars, and the roadmap that it sets out for changes to the legislative and regulatory framework. However, this high-level consideration will need to be supported by further work to identify exactly which legislation requires amendment if it is to have a significant impact. (Paragraph 59)

13.  The DfT should provide underpinning detail to support the legislative and other changes that it identified in its regulatory review. In doing so, it should articulate what changes it expects in the processes and systems for checking and enforcing compliance, and how it intends to ensure that its motoring agencies have the appropriate skills and knowledge to maintain and update testing and certification regimes. (Paragraph 60)

14.  It is important that the certification and testing regimes keep pace with developments in technology. These regimes have been used successfully in the past to encourage the take up of particular technologies and they have a role to play now. The DfT must bear in mind that new technologies are already being deployed in production vehicles and that some of the issues that the evidence to our inquiry and the review have identified, such as clarification of liabilities, are already live issues. (Paragraph 61)

Research and trials

15.  We welcome the trials of driverless cars announced in December 2014 and the leadership shown by Innovate UK on ensuring the UK is well positioned to seize the commercial opportunities created by new automotive technologies. (Paragraph 66)

16.  Public confidence will depend on knowing that these technologies can be deployed safely on real roads and with all the unpredictability of real traffic flows. (Paragraph 66)

17.  We welcome the approach set out by the DfT in The pathway to driverless cars and look forward to seeing the proposed code of conduct. (Paragraph 67)

Driver training

18.  As well as updating the regulatory framework, the DfT will need to examine how drivers are taught and how driving standards are monitored and enforced. New technologies open up possibilities for monitoring driving and periodically testing drivers, but those technologies also raise serious questions about privacy. The DfT faces the challenge of ensuring that drivers keep up with evolving technology and maintain an appropriate standard of driving. The DfT should undertake research on emerging models for driver training and the role new technologies might play in improving driving standards. Such research would need to address privacy, data ownership and data protection. (Paragraph 69)


19.  The Government should engage positively in setting European and international standards to allow UK manufacturers to exploit new technology by developing products that are suitable for export and to secure the benefits of new technology for UK drivers. (Paragraph 75)

Other barriers to adoption

20.  The DfT should set out how it will address barriers to the adoption of new technology other than the regulatory ones it has identified in The pathway to driverless cars. (Paragraph 76)

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© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 6 March 2015