Autonomous Transportation Seminar

Join us on April 16 at the Port of Palm Beach for a discussion on the role of autonomous and connected vehicles in transportationwith Dr. Tim Schwanen, director of the Transport Studies Unit and Associate Professor in Transport Studies at the University of Oxford; Dr. Louis Merlin, AICP, Assistant Professor at Florida Atlantic University; and Steve Lockwood, Institutional Transportation Engineering Consultant at Steve Lockwood, LLC. Presented by CUES in cooperation with the Freight Mobility Research Institute and the PBC Planning Congress.

For more information, please contact Dr. John Renne, director of FAU’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) at or CUES Outreach Coordinator, Serena Hoermann at



Automation in Freight Transport: Expectations and Prospects

Tim Schwanen, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford

Across the global North, the prospect of a rapid transition towards autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the road transport of both passengers and freight has caught the imagination of numerous policymakers, professionals and academics alike. Expectations about market introduction and diffusion of AVs as articulated in the mass media, consultancy reports and policy documents have become increasingly optimistic. As far as the UK is concerned, those expectations stand in considerable contrast with the perceptions of many stakeholders in the freight industry, as suggested by a series of in-depth interviews conducted as part of a study into future of automation in goods mobility. In the seminar, I will, first of all, explore the causes behind this discrepancy in expectations. To this end, I will draw on concepts and ideas from the sociology of expectations, the sociotechnical transition literature, and writings on the performativity of language and discourse. I will propose that the observed discrepancy is a consequence of the political economy of innovation processes in contemporary globalized capitalism, prevailing understandings in the western world about human-technology relationships, and the structure and institutions in the freight transport sector. Second, and bearing those causes in mind, I will elaborate several potential pathways for how automation in road transport of freight in the UK might be developed and diffused. Differences between long and short haul movement and between haulers will be considered, and implications for developments in the USA will be outlined as well.

About the presenter

Dr. Tim Schwanen is Director of the Transport Studies Unit and Associate Professor of Transport Studies at the University of Oxford. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Human Geography from Utrecht University in the Netherlands (2003, cum laude). Before taking up his current role in 2015, he held various research and lecturer positions at Utrecht University and the University of Oxford. Tim is currently also a Visiting Professor in Human Geography at the School of Business, Economics and Law of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Tim’s research concentrates on the geographical and social dimensions of the everyday mobilities of people, goods, and information. It addresses many themes and topics, including the transition towards low-carbon transportation, technological innovation in everyday mobility, the links between wellbeing and mobility, and the interactions between social differentiation and transportation. He has published more than 100 articles in leading academic journals in transportation research, geography, urban studies and interdisciplinary science. He is a past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Transport Geography (2013-2015).

Modeling to understand the impact of shared automated vehicles

Louis Merlin, School of Urban & Regional Planning, Florida Atlantic University

The presentation will briefly review the range of simulation methods that have been deployed to understand the potential impacts of shared and automated vehicles on transportation systems across the globe. The presentation will highlight the potential of shared mobility options that could have a transformative effect on the transportation system of the south Florida region.

About the presenter

Louis A. Merlin, Ph.D., AICP, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University.  Dr. Merlin draws upon a strong background in Mathematics and Operations Research as well as experience as a professional urban planner in his teaching and research. Dr. Merlin is particularly interested in developing mathematical models that shed insight into pressing urban policy questions.

Connected Vehicles – Capitalizing on Collective Intelligence in Future Passenger and Freight Transportation

Steve Lockwood, Steve Lockwood, LLC, Transportation Institutional Engineering

This presentation will describe the role of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems in the future of automated vehicles

About the presenter

Steve Lockwood is a nationally-renowned institutional engineering consultant supporting federal and state government in the development of policy, program and institutional solutions to highway transportation problems.