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Historical Perspectives on Managing Automation and Other Disruptions in Transportation

UCD-ITS-RP-19-16

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Suggested Citation:
Brown, Austin, Hannah Safford, Daniel Sperling (2019) Historical Perspectives on Managing Automation and Other Disruptions in Transportation. Empowering the New Mobility Workforce, 3 - 30

Vehicle automation and other new transportation innovations will reshape the workforce and economy. Examining the impacts of past technological disruptions in other sectors can provide clues about how the likely effects of such disruptions will affect transportation. In this chapter, we consider technological disruptions in farming, manufacturing, shipping, home care, and food preparation. We find that though automating transportation will indeed cause job loss, it will also expand demand for some existing jobs as well as create jobs that are entirely new. The aggregate economic benefits of automation are likely to far outweigh economic declines associated with limited job loss. However, policymakers should take steps now to establish retraining programs and other resources for workers whom automation will displace. Additional research will help pinpoint areas most likely to be affected and better quantify the likely magnitude and timeframe of automation-related impacts.

Key words: Automation, automated vehicles, self-driving, transportation, disruption, labor, workforce, economy