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PIARC (World Road Association), founded in 1909 and comprising 125 member governments from all over the world, is the global forum for exchange of knowledge and experience on roads, road transport policies and practices. With consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the Association is contributing to a stable and sustainable global development of the road and transport sector.

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The Role of Transport Agencies in Shaping Disruptive Technologies and Service Models - Technical Report

Under PIARC’s Strategic Plan 2020 - 2023, Technical Committee 1.1 (Performance of Transport Administrations) have sought to research challenges and emerging responses for transport agencies in understanding and successfully shaping disruptive technologies and service models.

Key technologies within scope include connected, electric and autonomous vehicles, digital highways, new transit modes, micromobility and shared mobility platforms, focused on the following questions:

  • What are the technologies and service models having the greatest potential impact on the transport and mobility sector, in which ways and over which timescales?
  • What is the current level of awareness, willingness to respond and leadership in respect of technology across transport agencies and how well-equipped are they to manage disruption and change?
  • In taking these steps, how are agencies adapting their own organisations, for example through building skills and capacity, changing organisational processes, or recruiting new talent?
  • What collaborative partnerships are emerging, and are needed, to support technological change, within public, private and academic sectors, and how should these partnerships be best managed?
  • What support is needed to improve agencies’ capacity to respond to, and manage, technological change in ways which balance the complex factors at play and deliver public value?

TC 1.1 sought to answer these questions via a range of data collection and analytical methods and has published various intermediate outputs. This Final Report brings the various strands of evidence together and seeks to provide consolidated findings as well as recommendations on the key issues for transport agencies, public and private sector stakeholders, and PIARC itself.

The research concludes that transport agencies have four overarching roles in shaping disruptive technologies and service models. These are (i) Policy Maker and Regulator (ii) Researcher and Developer (iii) End User, Operator and Manager and (iv) Convener, Enabler and Integrator. Application of these roles is highly context specific and varies across organisations and geographies at different stages of development, as does the extent of public sector intervention and regulation of the private sector driving most technological innovation. In addition, not every transport agency takes on available roles and strategies in the same way. There are leaders, early adopters and those which choose to take a more conservative or even resistant approach. In this context, a Future Mobility Maturity Curve has been developed as a series of benchmarks in facing disruptive change. Agencies may assess themselves against this Curve and the extent, shape and nature of organisational change required, desired and justified under their own individual organisational objectives.

Alongside multiple recommendations, the research has identified a number of areas for further work for PIARC over the next Strategic Plan 2024 – 2027. These include road transport electrification, digital connectivity, developing the transport agency of the future, and fostering innovation as a broader theme and institutional culture.

Information sheet

  • Date: 2023
  • Author(s): Comité technique / Technical Committee / Comité Técnico 2020-2023 1.1 Performance des administrations de transport / Performance of Transport Administrations / Funcionamiento de las administraciones de transporte
  • Domain(s): Road Policies / Governance of Road Authorities
  • Type: Technical Report
  • PIARC Ref.: 2023R01EN
  • ISBN: 978-2-84060-738-0
  • Number of pages: 83