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The University of Southampton

Research project: REASON: REsilient Autonomous SOcio-cyber-physical ageNts

Currently Active: 

Enhancing connected, end-to-end, journeys, with a view to addressing the concerns as well as integrating public and active transport using autonomous solutions.

People travel for a variety of reasons including (percentages in brackets from 2014-2018*): leisure (40), commuting (20), shopping (11), business (9), escorting another person (7), personal business (7), education (5), and other (1).  The private vehicle dominates the transport modes, accounting for approximately 80 percent of all the distance travelled in the UK.  Other transport modes include (percentages in brackets from 2014-2018*): rail (10), bus (6), walking (3), taxi (1) and bicycle (1).  Despite the domination of the private vehicle, there are concerns about road safety (road deaths in UK were 1770 in 2018, approximately 26,610 people killed or seriously injured, and there were approximately 165,100 casualties of all severities), extending mobility to everyone, more sustainable transportation, and improving the transportation experience.  There is currently a resistance of modal shift towards public (rail and bus) and active (walking and cycling) transport.

Constraints to modal shift can be defined as the temporal, financial, physical, mental (cognitive) and/or emotional (affective) effort required to use a particular mode of transport for a journey which are greater than the effort required to use an alternative mode or undertake an alternative activity which achieves equivalent results.  For travel behaviour to change, an individual will need both the motivation to change (desire) and the means to facilitate such change (ability) by overcoming the constraints that currently exist for public and active transport.

Work within this project aims to present the constraints to modal shift towards public and active transport as part of an overall multimodal journey (including travel for leisure, commuting, shopping, business, escorting another person, personal business, and education), highlighting Social, Legal, Ethical, Empathy and Cultural (SLEEC) norms and values which could be limiting the use of public and active transport over the use of the private vehicle, and to provide autonomous solutions which could help promote such modal shifts.

It is argued that a more connected world will have greater resilience, both within and between transportation modes.  Systems models will be used to identify where the systems are brittle and propose more resilient structures through the development of supportive autonomous systems. These systems will be simulated for the purpose of human-in-the-loop testing, so that reactions from user groups can be gleaned.

Associated research themes

Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub (TAS)

Related research groups

Transportation Group
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