This research project seeks to contribute to that goal by working on evaluating the socioeconomic impact of automated driving to achieve the two following objectives. The first objective is to foster public acceptance of automated driving. The understanding of automated driving in communities exhibited by the citizens forms the basic premise for the eventual commercialization and spread of services and vehicles making use of automated driving technology. Obtaining that citizens’ understanding requires taking quantitative measures of both the utility and latent risks automated driving brings to citizens’ everyday lives and the Japanese economy. The second objective is to contribute to defining government policies and corporate strategies to promote automated driving. Assessing the differences in the speed of automated vehicle diffusion and the resulting socioeconomic impacts depending on the scope of economic incentives offered for automated driving and the approach to bringing automated vehicles to the market, for example, is a critical factor in government and corporate decision-making.
We began by establishing the relationship of automated driving to the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and attendant 169 targets by the United Nations to consolidate basic information and look into the significance of automated driving for building a sustainable society. Next, we conducted simulations of the automated vehicle diffusion and used the results as fundamental input variables in analyzing socioeconomic impacts. These socioeconomic impacts were then quantitatively analyzed from the three viewpoints of impact on road traffic, impact on the transportation services field, and impact on the industry & society field. The impact on road traffic was analyzed from the two perspectives of estimating effectiveness at reducing traffic accidents and estimating effectiveness at reducing traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. The analyses of the impact on the transportation services field focused on the themes of securing mobility for vulnerable road users, as well as in depopulated areas or other regions with poor transportation services, mitigating the driver shortage for logistics services, and changing consumer choices for transportation modes, including vehicle ownership and use. Finally, the analysis of the industry and society field examined how changes in vehicle ownership patterns will affect the automotive industry and industrial sector as a whole, and how automated driving contributes to increased economic productivity.
International Cooperation Activities
In the course of this research project, we set up an advisory committee involving experts from a variety of fields rather than just the engineering field and advanced our research based on the discussions in the committee meetings. The simulations of the automated vehicle diffusion and the changing consumer choices for transportation modes including vehicle ownership and use themes from this project have been researched in cooperation with German research institutes in the context of the Japan–Germany joint research project. Following the Joint Declaration of Intent on Japanese – German Cooperation of the Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy of Japan and the Federal Minister of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany on the Promotion of Research and Development on Automated Driving Technologies (January 12, 2017), the Japan–Germany joint research project on socio-economic impact assessment was established at the Steering Committee meeting held by the Cabinet Office and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in January 2019.