Autonomous Disruption

Socio-spatial and infrastructure investment implications of Autonomous Vehicles

Background and Aim

Roads to city

The transition to Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) in cities has profound societal and spatial implications. Introducing AVs into existing built-environments and transportation systems could cause major disruptions and worsen problems of unequal access to jobs and services. To transition in a manner that minimizes disruptions to mobility and optimises benefits for citizens, cities need a coherent deployment strategy to inform the diffusion of AVs.

The aim of this research project is to explore possible deployment strategies of AVs and assess their socio-spatial and infrastructure investment implications.

The research team are using four cities and city-regions across Europe and Australasia, namely Manchester (UK), Melbourne (Australia), Seattle (USA) and Singapore to offer an international comparative understanding of how different cities imagine their transport and mobility futures in the context of connected autonomous vehicles and the associated digital platform mobility services 


The project seeks to achieve the following objectives:


  1. co-develop and document a typology of AV deployment visions and strategies across the case study cities and city-regions
  2. map and examine the spatial dimensions and infrastructure investment implications of these deployment visions at multiple scales; and
  3. Collaboratively develop and use a multi-criteria decision framework to explore the likely consequences of these AV deployment visions.


In each of the case study cities/city-regions, the research team is working with various stakeholders including local government officials, experts in transportation and urban development, academics, industry players and citizens to co-develop and appraise visions of urban mobility futures around autonomous vehicles and connected autonomous mobility.


Sept 2019- Sept 2020 (12 months)


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors + University of Manchester-University of Melbourne Collaboration Research Fund

Project Team

  • Dr Ransford Acheampong, University of Manchester (PI and Manchester Lead),
  • Dr Crystal Legacy, University of Melbourne (Co-I and University of Melbourne Lead)
  • Prof Richard Kingston, University of Manchester (Co-I)
  • Dr Jones Stone, University of Melbourne (Co-I)