Dr. John McCarthy, European Intelligent Mobility leader for Arup, an expert in autonomous cars.
Kevin Mayne, Cycling Industries Europe
Academic John Parkin.
European Commission Deputy Director-General of transport Matthew Baldwin.
Carlton Reid 0:07
Welcome to virtual Velo-city recorded at the Velo-city conference held in Dublin in June 2019. I’m Carlton Reid and this episode is tech-themed. On the conference stage, I talked driverless cars, scooters, beacons again and much more with Dr. john McCarthy, who is the European intelligent mobility leader for Arap and an expert in autonomous cars. Alongside us, was academic john Parkin, author of a recent cycling infrastructure book. We’re also including the audio from john Parkin’s 11 minute show presentation. At the Google HQ I talked beacons and more with Kevin Mayne of Cycling Industries Europe. Later in the show we hear from the European Commission Deputy Director General of transport Matthew Baldwin and then finish with Phillipe Crist from the OECD’s international transport forum.
John, there was a very long introduction there in like in the in the text where I read all the things that you’ve done on the PhD and stuff. Can you give me like, an even briefer summary of that long introduction of who you are and what you do?
John McCarthy 1:55
Pretty good question. Because you know, what, what two titles mean? And what two roles, I suppose my job is as a storyteller in the digital age, but to try and connect, you know, our analogue solutions to the, the 21st century as well, and vice versa. So I try and define what what good might look like working with stakeholders, and then working together to actually deliver that I think delivery is a key fears. We all need to dream, we also have to kind of deliver those dreams as well. And that’s part of the rule.
Carlton Reid 2:25
So the dreams of the future, from any technologists is autonomous cars.
John McCarthy 2:31
It is I think we get sidetracked a little bit just by the vehicle itself. You know, fantastic looking vehicles, shiny lights, always good data and stuff going on. The question, you know, I always pose back as what do we want from them? How can we integrate them with the cities that we have right now the cities by and large and blank campuses, where you know, we’re suffering from congestion, you know, the city’s the fiscal road space isn’t going to change? Maybe we can make it a bit smaller. But what we want from any technology, what do we want from dear? So what we want from connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and it’s coming back to you and me as individuals? What do I want? What, what makes my life better? And then that brings the back of my head, at least to having cities that are livable, that are sustainable? And certainly autonomous vehicles have a fantastic role to play as part of a bigger jigsaw.
Carlton Reid 3:23
How do autonomous vehicles work in a city when a pedestrian or a cyclist can go in front of it?
What rules are going to be
Brent Whittington 3:33
brought in to get autonomous vehicles into cities if they’re ever allowed into cities in the first place?
John McCarthy 3:39
Yeah, I think it’s a good question in terms of the rules, but I will put a slightly different lens on it in terms of what what we want in terms of the city, the performance metrics of our city to do. And certainly, you know, there’s the challenge of cyclists and walkers walking our cyclists and walkers going in front of any vehicle, whether it’s autonomous or not on, what is the vehicle supposed to do, then you stop you give priority. What I hope we are working towards is an ecosystem where we’re not competing for that space. And that’s on a boat. That’s about respect. And that’s about trust. And that’s about behaviours. And I think that’s as important the discussion right now, as it isn’t an autonomous vehicle world. I think the challenges from a technology perspective, how will the technology react, and what’s really important is, any new technology that’s introduced into a city environment or an urban environment has to be tested, it has to be fully understood before it’s brought out into reality. And that’s the work that, you know, lots of cities and lots of governments are involved in is trying to understand the testing that’s needed, and to understand what safety requirements are necessary. And again, I know it’s a bit of a long answer. But autonomous vehicles, there’s different levels to it. So autonomous vehicles, level five, is there’s no steering wheel, and I’m sitting on I’m doing nothing, I’m playing chess in the vehicle stroking itself, autonomous level fours, it’s driving itself in certain environments, but I will be expected to take control. Level three will be technical control at certain times level two, adaptive emergency braking systems. So we have vehicles that have levels of autonomy, anywhere I can, we kind of get lost in kind of the stereotypes of you know, what it means. This is where we need to get into the detail. And this is where we need to have, you know, really detailed conversations around autonomous levels, two vehicles, and a city environment exists now. And the vehicles will react with the emergency braking with the land assist. So that’s a conversation that needs to happen today, autonomous vehicles level five, slightly down in the future. So it’s it’s bought a conversation around, you know, understanding that things are there right now, today? And what do we need to ensure that level five wonder is no effective driver, that we have that integration? That’s the
Carlton Reid 5:57
last question, beacons
RFID, chips, whatever, whatever technology exists, or whatever technology they dream up to? Should they be on bicycles? Should they be on cyclists should be on pedestrians?
John McCarthy 6:25
I’m very reluctant to say “should”, I think everyone needs to have a choice in this. And I think we need to understand the parameters of that choice. When does it make sense for technology to be used in an immersive environment? Personally, you know, when would I feel comfortable having a piece of technology on me? And what value Am I getting out of it? On the flip side, I have my mobile phone, which has location services turned on, probably more than I understand or want. And that’s going off to a third party doing which watch? I don’t know. So I think there needs to be a question around what do I want as an individual? What services do I want? What services Am I willing to pay for? And what do I give up as part of that engagement? And am I giving it up freely, which I think we have to work towards. And I think that honesty and transparency have to be brought into the conversation, I think banner comes back to the rules of government. Government is not a private sector organisation or government is one that looks after all individuals, what are poor, what a rich, and that’s another conversation as well, to ensure that whatever technology is brought into the future isn’t just for the rich, it’s for everybody, and what has to be integrated. And so these are big questions. This is where we need to have conversations, and not just one person, but multiple stakeholders involved to fundamentally work towards defining what does good look like a simple question, but a hard one to answer. And hovering is john.
John Parkin 6:25
Hi, Carlton. I’m talking
about exactly this now. A minute ago, my answer to that last question is: Never. Full stop.
Carlton Reid 6:25
Especially with the poor. Yeah, because yeah, all the rich people can have beacons and can talk to cars. But then what about every else
John McCarthy 8:02
must be fully integrated, but I think we should have the choice.
John Parkin 8:06
And it has to be a level playing field. And therefore, if you have an autonomous vehicle, that has to be able to operate around people, people, not people with tech.
John McCarthy 8:10
100% agree, completely agree.
Carlton Reid 8:12
But the bike industry isn’t going that way. Of course, the bike industry, Trek, whole bunch of a bike companies are going down the tech route, and it’s like, well, hang on, that’s for the $2,000 bike person, but it’s not for the person that’s already good with it.
John McCarthy 8:26
But you see it even in the cycling comminity as I see I’m like I wasn’t really committed cyclists now. Like first kinda put us on the back burner slightly, but you know, cycling and you know, fantastic apps like Strava and others and you know, cycling as a hobby becomes cycling as well. I look at my metrics to see I’m performing against my competitors or you know, my my fellow cyclist we
John Parkin 8:52
performing safety function, those
John McCarthy 8:55
It shows what kind of technology is kinda integrating itself, whether rightly or wrongly, into our lives. And I completely agree with you, john, that technology shouldn’t be forced upon us. I think it has to be a level playing field that goes back to the rules of government to ensure that transparency and trust and I as an individual, have a see and how this gets handled rather than company that’s basically interested in profit making with a message around, you know, selling a fantastic story. We have to get that balance right. But I, again, I go back to the point I made that we can stereotype technology as bad as you right. I know. It’s too easy. And it’s too glib a phrase is to be evil thinking. This was a little bit of worried what I hear from everything being said is that there’s a conflict. We talked a lot about
John Parkin 9:44
the way the chair was placing without that that’s a device isn’t there. And if you were listening to pick up Bronwyn Felipe, they, they weren’t actually doing. Yeah, I mean, Bronwyn actually said, No, we’re all smart technology. Humans are smarter actually.
So it’s kind of understanding that broader context. But yeah, that’s the chairs device, two stories.
Unknown Speaker 10:04
Create prerogatoves., Carlton Reid John I am coming to your talk.
John Parkin 10:12
I think you’ve probably had a chance to read the title now. So you know what I’m going to talk about. And I think my first image for me says it all cities are for people without pedestrians and cyclists there. And that, you know, that’s where I’m at in this whole piece. But unfortunately, as an academic, you have to chase the money, the money from every UK that invested millions in autonomous vehicle research, even though Google and Uber and so on, invest billions, I don’t know how we can think we can get as good as buying this thing so little compared to the rest. But there you go. Anyway, we had a project, the research project, connected with autonomous vehicles called Ventura. And our objectives were to partly develop AV technologies. I think john McCarthy’s in the room, Susie and cookies, yes, there is involved in the project more particularly on that side of things, public acceptance, as well. And then also, insurance and legal implications, which some of our colleagues did. I was particularly in all the three titles. One was the hand over trial. The second was interactions within the motor vehicles. But for me, the most interesting one was the final one, when we developed the technology to its highest level that we could investigate and trust amongst babies and pedestrians and cyclists. That’s what I’m going to be reporting to you today. That trial had seven events. So I’ll just talk you through those events, crossing the zebra with and without a pedestrian, those are the top two images there. And then second, two events were overtaking a parked car with and without a cyclist approaching in the opposite direction. I just point out that the manoeuvre of overtaking a car car is really challenging. Think about it from a human point of view. Is there a vehicle coming towards me yesterday is where’s my position? What’s my speed? Where’s the stationary vehicle? How fast do I have to travel? How fast is the vehicle travelling ahead? Will I move back in before the distance that it’s a really complex problem. And the final three are turning into a side road without any other road user with a pedestrian crossing, and where the cyclists crossing as well. Those are some images, you see, we had Yellow Jackets there. That was when we were still doing the kind of safety testing our distress, we didn’t put yellow jackets, on the pedestrians and cyclists in the actual trials, we had, in fact, what we call actual pedestrians and cyclists. And then we had observers responding to us, and 134 people 49, who are as it were pretending to be acting in the driver or 45, and a cyclist role. 14 the pedestrian role, although, of course, the vast majority of the hundred and 3400 licences anyway. But the rest were predominantly either side fish or production. Anything else they’re all age ranges male, female. And I think the graphs on the right are really indicative to me the show the trust scores, overall, the top one for the real world, the bottom on the simulator, the trust scores are generally very high. I’ll come back to that later on. And you don’t mean meant to read all the numbers on this, I’m going to unpack these numbers for you now in the next few minutes. But this is the summary of the raw data. So the first column is all respondents. And then we have the trust scores for cyclists, drivers, and then their strings. And then they, the two principal rows are all top Thomas vehicle, the real world. And then the simulator. what we were doing, it was a kind of experiment, and we were asking for trust ratings. And we couldn’t have asked for comfort ratings as well. But we felt that the conditions were not so different that we would get differentiation. So you just asking about trust.
So from there on them, we can had five research question, take you through each of those. Now. The principal interest was what the effect on the trust school they have the presence of a pedestrian or cyclist. Now mostly there were no significant differences in the trust goes overland in for the, for the for the non junctions, these two conditions. When the pedestrian was present, the trust code decreased on the zebra, which is perhaps slightly odd by a significant amount statistically signal does the presence we don’t really know. But it does the presence of destiny and actually acts as a reminder about what the several crossing is therefore, which might be slightly worrying. And people pointed out don’t really realise that. intriguingly, but inversely, when the cyclist was president, when the autonomous vehicles are overtaking the pump car, the the trust school, what did you do to increase the trust score? So maybe the inverse is happening here, Laura, describe its complex problems, the autonomous vehicle and what’s going on? Is it that the people who are in the vehicle wondering how a vehicle myself operate, had there been something coming towards it? Well, when there was a cyclist, they were comfortable with that. But perhaps I’ll come on something a bit later, perhaps the vehicle was being overcautious. So then, at the junction, the effect of the pedestrian cyclists being present, the pedestrian didn’t significantly affect the trust scores. But the cyclist did. So just sort of looking through that there’s no difference between know the pedestrian, but there is a significant difference when the cyclists was their competitor, no person, and when the cyclists was there compared to a pedestrian. So again, there’s the actual presence, keep confidence about what’s going on? Or was it that that autonomous vehicles too cautious, I have to stress that, you know, that we’re not there yet. We’ve got autonomous vehicle technology, as you’ve just seen from the tragic American example. So the second research question was, is there a difference by the type of respondent, I’ve already described that relatively speaking there was sort of homogenous in the sense that they were all driving anyway. But we were asking them to think in those different roles. But we found no statistically significant differences between people and the respondents based on what their role was. I’m going to skip over the next two research questions, bear in mind the time and I’ll pick up on these in the conclusion. But we also looked at the fact that the platform platform meaning either the real world or the simulator, and then the fourth question there effect to the driver versus autonomy, we actually got the person performing the driving wrong within the simulator to actually drive the vehicle. And we could compare the responses of the cyclists in production in the simulator to autonomy or the driver of skip over that. And then the final research question was, and just to understand differences based on age driving experience, there were none. But there was high correlation between the trust scores. And we had a whole batch of psychometric tests, including one on general trust in technology, and claps. And surprisingly, there was correlation between the trust scores and general trust in technology. So let’s move on to the summary. In conclusion, then each of those research questions in turn, I just want to have a code if I can, I’ve got a couple of minutes for code after this slide.
So differently, the presidents of pedestrians and cyclists, broadly speaking, the trust ratings were very high. And the trust ratings were high with the cyclist present. But you know, we’re not really sure, you know, too little release, there’s one trial with 134 people and perhaps not, not a particularly good vehicle. But I would say this is the first trial like this in the library. There’s been other material done with kind of respondents suggesting in a kind of conceived and setup scenario, what they what they would think, but there’s no scenario like this, where they’ve been exposed to it, the effect of the participant role wasn’t important. So perhaps, you know, we are still real people responding to technology in a kind of fairly homogeneous way. So maybe there’s no need for different messaging. There’s no effect of the platform that suggests to techies that we can actually use a simulator as a use of tests, but before testing in the real world, which is quite useful, because it means that you don’t kill people in the real world before you’ve kind of got someone’s reassurance from the simulator. And the fourth point, then, the effect of manual driving versus autonomy was higher trust always in the manual driving, because of the way we set the thing up the mic actually been an older effect there. But that’s quite interesting finding. And then no correlation runway personality type. But do we need to gain gauge against being true to trusting? So that’s my research findings. But if I could, people who know me will know that I this is not an advert? Well, it is I’m slipping in. Well, now that I’ve written a book called designing for cycle traffic are some leaflets here, which I’ll leave on the front. But interestingly, the same publisher institution of civil engineers, is now asking me to write a chapter on a book about autonomous vehicles on infrastructure for autonomous vehicles. Now, I’d rather write that rather than leaving somebody else. And certainly, there are some key messages that you know, I’m trying to get in there. Particularly, and I think this is this is the point for me, we’ve heard very interesting discussion this morning in the plenary, I think the use of autonomous vehicles won’t be to do with the technology at all. It will be to do with how we choose a civic society to create the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles. We’ve only got mass motoring because we created infrastructure for mass motoring. So I think we still offer playful. But I’ve got some notes here on my ideas for the book where we might pick that up in q&a. But the other point I just want very briefly to make is that the law commissions in the UK, the England one and the Scottish one, but just finished consultation on the changes in legislation that is needed for autonomous vehicles, the rather intriguing fire they put up three contentious scenarios. One was the autonomous vehicles. Could they could they mount footways? In what circumstances could they mount? it in my view, extremely surprisingly, a very large proportion of the respondents suggesting that they could, which to me is rather worrying. The second one was the contingent, could an autonomous vehicles any circumstances exceed the speed limit? Again, and the majority of respondents was suggesting that they could. So it’s a lot to play for here. And we we have to really think carefully about these and the final contentious one. Should autonomous vehicles be allowed to nudge pedestrians in order to assert some some supremity? You know, some priority and otherwise production priority areas. They took quite seriously the response of the Game Theorists, who is suggesting that unless you did allowance Norio, that an autonomous vehicle wouldn’t be able to move at all. So currently role playing game theory. Rather than being collaborators in a public space, I would rather like the collaboration rather than the competition. And I think that has already been mentioned. But I think I want to make those points because we are all now in terms of legislation exactly at the point where we need to begin to influence what might be in our legislation and fish and I’ll leave it there.
Carlton Reid 21:51
I’m here at Google HQ with Kevin Mayne of Cycling Industries Europe.
Kevin. Bits. What does Bits stand for?
Kevin Mayne 22:03
Very simple abbreviation: bicycles, and intelligent transport solutions. Bicycles and ITS is the shorthand,
Carlton Reid 22:10
Is that beacons? Are we talking putting beacons on bikes? What are we talking about?
Kevin Mayne 22:14
It could be, but it’s a broader cliches about ecosystems and frameworks. But frankly, connected mobility is intelligent transport systems. So yes, it’s the inter-vehicle stuff. But it’s when you give your data to the city to help design better bike lanes. It’s when you go on to an app. It’s the it’s the kind of smarts in transport is the intelligent transport systems,
Carlton Reid 22:38
So, Cycling Industries Europe and who?
Kevin Mayne 22:41
The BITS project is conceived by six municipalities in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Denmark, and Germany. We have research partners as well and and we have a one from province of Antwerp are also bringing in specialists to design data centres. And it’s five
Carlton Reid 23:00
million euros and a five year project
Kevin Mayne 23:03
Is 5 million euros over three years, three years. Yeah, we got to work fast
Carlton Reid 23:07
And the end result will be?
Kevin Mayne 23:11
The end result is that we want to show in the cities that we can get up to a 10% uplift in cycling through just the ideas component. So but complementary to their investments in infrastructure and other stuff like that. But from Cycling Industries Europe point of view, it’s the first kind of paid up chance to create the frameworks where we understand what we have to do in data standards. What do we have to do in data sharing, so I hoping it helps us catch up with the automotive sector and the public transport sectors are a long way ahead of us. They’ve got big corporate investors, people can see the money shining in in automotive data, they can’t yet see it in cycling. So we’ve really got to prove the case that cycling can connect.
Brent Whittington 23:52
Automotive sector seems to want beacons and the bicycle industry seems to want beacons, but you can’t have beacons on every single bike,
Kevin Mayne 24:02
We’re pretty well agreed with all the major bike makers that there’s no kind of pressure for some massive retroactive fitting, and what I talk about a lot is that there’s going on the very bottom of the of this process. I mean, if you go to pedestrians, we’re not going to microchip our children. automated driving will not depend on beacons being attached to soft moving objects, end of storey never going to happen. However, if you like a bicycle helmet, or like bicycle lights, feel more confident on your bike because you got some extra tech, then frankly, we’d love to give you that confidence.
Brent Whittington 24:38
Rich, white man rich white person thing I mean, these aren’t gonna be on all bikes out there like the like the famous invisible cyclists and they’re like that,
Kevin Mayne 24:48
no, no, they’re gonna be say there’s two groupings, I think there is the the technology that you can buy if you want it, and it will tend to be enthusiast or high and lead. But look at the market, Netherlands, nobody can argue the Dutch need he bikes, when they already said that 80% of the population still cycles every month anyway, do the last one, he bikes because it makes their cycling easier and less complicated. And then you know, whatever, then Klay, they do. So they’re making a consumer decision to buy into increase technology. And there is some feedback that in certain and 10s perhaps be the low volume syphon countries that people say this kind of tech, I think I’d appreciate it. And appreciate the ability to talk to cars, from some kind of detection. But it is not the core, the core is actually a wiser system, where frankly, it’s not the data you give to the car is the data we collect as a society that builds better bike lanes, that creates better knowledge about black spots, that does, you know, enables you to switch seamlessly from my cargo bike on Monday to a bike share on Tuesday to rent a folding bike on Wednesday. That’s when it gets smart. So I think we’re getting distracted by one or two case studies such as beacons. But isn’t I’m
Carlton Reid 26:05
gonna I’m gonna go keep on going on beacons here but is not a danger with beacons that you almost get the like the helmet example in that if you’re not wearing the helmet, it’s your fault that you haven’t got a beacon on that’s your focus be
Kevin Mayne 26:19
absolutely clear, you know, the bottom end of our mobility system. Let’s go back to walking. Now if we go back to the Dutch model, a column wheeled pedestrians, if we want to build a cycling world, where cycling as as easy as that, we have to base it on that premise, a very human city, a very mobile city, a very active city. And we are not going to be canonise up our society to deliver this. And we had a fantastic plenary this morning at Villa city where people talked about the human values. So the the task is to do I think the clever stuff, which is to make our city wiser to make our ability to go on a cycling holiday in a different country easier because we can access certain information. And when you look at the European Union’s objectives for this at the legislative level, they are talking about how do you make it easier? They have a new European Union regulation on the data that should be available. And it’s got nothing to do with beacons. It’s got all to do with what kind of bike lane is it? Is there bicycle parking? Is there an interface with a railway station? Yeah, and if we ever did have that on an EU wide basis, we wouldn’t have a richer cycling society. And within that there might be some automated cars that are using beacons to avoid us. But that’s the bonus. The core is actually say almost like a been a designer wiser system, for the cyclist, and for the city planner.
Carlton Reid 27:50
Right I am now with Matthew Baldwin, and Matthew, and I’m going to read this out because you could have your business cards about six foot wide. So you are the Deputy Director General for transport in the EU. And then you are also the European coordinator for road safety. So you’re right here at velo city,
Matthew Baldwin 28:09
supporting what exactly? Well supporting the case for road safety and sustainable mobility to be looked at together. I think for too long, sometimes these communities have been separated off, you’ve got the, you know, the road safety engineers looking at Vehicle Safety over here. And then you know, here you’ve got these, I’m putting this in quotation marks, you know, crazy people who want to cycle and walk in cities, and gotta bring those two things together. I mean, the latest figures show I think that 70% of the people who are killed in cities, what we call it are horrible road safety, jargon vulnerable road uses. I people with soft tissue that can be hurt by hard metal objects. And that’s 80% I think in London, and it’s 90% I believe in Swedish cities. In Canada, when you stop thinking about how if you’re driving around a Swedish city in a Volvo, how do you get killed, I guess you get hit by a bigger Volvo or something like that.
That’s as close as you can get to a joke in road safety.
And it’s still a sackable offence. Little bit, I want to bring these two things together and get both communities into a real discussion about it. And there’s some great work going on the European Transport Safety Council has done a great study on urban mobility. So linking the two issues together. POLIS have been doing great stuff, the ITF have done a great study. And I really think we’re starting to, you know, win those arguments and it’s somebody said in a panel earlier today, this conference here Velo-city in Dublin is not about what we can do for cycling it’s about what cycling can do for sustainable mobility and by reference what cycling can do for cities. And I’m a believer.
Brent Whittington 29:54
But there are more than two communities in this space. Because scooters and e-scooters are not really been talked about here. It’s almost like the elephant in the room.
Matthew Baldwin 30:05
In the room, I hear nothing but scooters here. And maybe you’ve been in different panels,
Brent Whittington 30:09
like official stuff like you know, we are now talking about scooter. So the be mentioned. So they were mentioned in the plenary this morning, they mentioned obliquely, but there’s nothing nobody coming on head on and saying, this is a good thing. This might be good for bringing bicycles on board as well. What Philippe Christ this morning was talking about was forget bike lanes, we’re going to have just mobility lanes. So from the EU’s point of view, I’m not I’m not asking you for any official breaking stories here. But what is your point of view on on these things?
Matthew Baldwin 30:42
Well, I think across Europe and all the different levels of governance, you know, the, in the European Union, and the member states in the cities, there is a scramble, a sort of head scratching scramble to figure out how to deal with these things. I mean, on the one hand, they are another solution to promote sustainable mobility and to reduce our dependence on the private car in the city. They’re fun, they’re happy, they’re fresh, they’re new. And, you know, a big part of me says, you know, the European Commission can’t afford to be, you know, this big wagging finger of caution and prudent saying, you know, there’s not in regulations 625 1981. So it’s not allowed. And I really don’t want to be in that position. on another level, we and everyone else do need to ensure a reasonable level of safety. There’s no hard data. Yeah, on the situation. Anecdotally, I’m hearing quite a lot of bad storeys, about, you know, emergency wards filling up with people who have come off these things. The wheels are small, the centre of gravity is not ideal, from a safety perspective, certainly not as good as the bike. And so I think we need to develop a frame work for safe TV scooters in which they can grow sustainably and be part of good urban mobility solutions. And, you know, we’ve got to get on with it. It’s, it’s in this great world of subsidiarity, it’s certainly not going to all be for the European Union, it might be at the level of the safety of the scooter as opposed to the traffic laws, which is much more for the member states in the cities, we’ve got to do it together. And the cities are under the most pressure to act and just chatting to the deputy mayor of Paris, you know, Paris is acting against the 14 at the bidet being rolled out a different cities in different time. So that just arrived in Germany. I made a bad jokes, but like the grey squirrel, the way they’re moving across Europe, you know.
And everyone’s gonna have to figure out how to react, I’d like us to react in a coordinated way.
Brent Whittington 32:52
A coordinated way means regulations?
Matthew Baldwin 32:57
Well, that will be the old school reaction to say, you know, the commission doesn’t do anything unless it regulates. I want to have a dialogue with Member States share information about, you know, which company is established where safety information, and very important is, what’s the modal shift information? Are they replacing car trips or other people not getting in the bus and going on these on these scooters? The Polish network of cities, they’re sharing information a lot as well. So let’s make sure we’re all operating on the same basis. The key to good regulation of any kind is data. And we don’t really have enough data yet.
Carlton Reid 33:37
Matthew, where have you come from? What’s your
what’s your back …?
Matthew Baldwin 33:41
I just met you in the reception.
Brent Whittington 33:43
OK, I fell into that one. Where have you come from in your career? How have you ended up here in an elevated position?
Matthew Baldwin 33:53
Well, I’m 56 years old, how long have you got? Well, I was a British civil servant for many years, a few years. And then I got the chance to work in the European Commission. And frankly, I found my vocation, I don’t mind telling you on a on a n a thing that’ll be broadcast in the UK, I’ve loved every second of working for Europe, profoundly believe in it. And that’s all I’m going to say about anything else
Brent Whittington 34:18
The B word is that the word you are trying to avoid the word? Bollocks. I think it is when we can say, what can I say to
Matthew Baldwin 34:26
Bollocks. Thank you very much. I feel very good. No, I didn’t say no, it’s been it’s been a wonderful experience. I’m a trained negotiator. I’ve worked with some extraordinary commissioners, Pascal Lamy was the first Commissioner, I worked for, a man of extraordinary depth and energy. And I worked also in the cabinet, President Barroso and in the cabinet of Commissioner Hill, who left right after Brexit. But I’ve come back to mobility through choice. And I use the word advisedly, when I try no longer to talk about transport. And as Deputy Director General, I get the chance to focus a bit on some of the things and I chose to focus on road safety and the linked aspects of sustainable mobility because they’re profoundly exciting. And I feel that in in some modest way, I can make a contribution in these.
Brent Whittington 35:17
What do you think these kind of conferences even though this is your first day here? Which is the kind of conferences that we’ve got here? What can they do? Because it’s just a bunch of talking heads? And and talking amongst ourselves? Really, how can we get the message out of these? I’d like to say four walls, but we’re in a big circle. So how do we get the message out of the ivory tower?
Matthew Baldwin 35:41
Well, I’m very impressed to be here. firstly by the size and the scale of the event. And the breadth of people who come in. You know, you got the mobility as a service crowd, you got the ITS crowd, very interesting. Here. The bike ITS the bike ITS is looming on the horizon. You’ve got the of course, the bike advocates who are eloquent and fun. And I think on a very good, strong pragmatic policy track, they’re pushing with pedestrians for active mobility strategy, I get that I understand why they’re pushing for it. And it’s very welcome. And I was interested to see the cycling industry come of age, of course, now we’ve got the separate advocacy. This separate industry groups now have emerging at the European level. I’m urging them to continue to work together to keep a unified voice for cycling. And cycling is becoming big business. Incredible. And you look at the the mushrooming sales of E bikes. I’m a bit of a biking traditionalist, myself, but I’m come around to e-bike because great new study that shows that the health benefits of using an E bike can be just as big as for the bike because you’re cycling longer distances. And it broadens the commuting.
What’s the word? Carlton Reid Demographic.
The demographic, the commuting era. And so so it’s a rambling and long answer, but it’s a wonderful cocktail mixture of people. And again, not just interested in promoting the thing we all do as a as a hobby or to get to work, but because we can see the benefits it brings to cities and communities.
Brent Whittington 37:16
So you mentioned BITS, bicycle Information Technology, that that partnering with Cycling industries Europe, now one of the streams is not the major stream but one of the streams there are our beacons. So these chips whatever whatever technology is going to use to demarcate vulnerable road users that term that you didn’t like to use (valued road users). Valued roads users, okay. So that you know that the autonomous cars of the future or potentially even you know, equipped vehicles now will be able to spot similarly equipped cyclist? Is that something that from a whole population point of view? How equitable is that, because clearly, it’s going to be the the rich people who will have this beacon technology first. And the poor people who won’t have this technology will be the ones potentially getting squashed because they haven’t got the beacons.
Matthew Baldwin 38:17
It’s not a subject I’ve thought too much about. You raised it today. And I was very interested to hear the way you expressed it in the whole, I’m very interested to hear the responses you got to which were very mixed. And the Commission’s job isn’t to pick the next generation of technological winners. It is to again, sorry, sounds terribly bland, the Bill of Rights facilitates a framework through which good new technologies can be deployed effectively. And so there is a role for technology in bikes. And that’s that’s very clear. And it’s you know, not just technology in the terms of new gee whiz gadgetry, but the sharing technology and everything else. And this is a, I think, quite a revelation to people who think that it’s a it’s a one trick pony, the poor old fashioned bicycle. Now, technology must serve our broader interests. And so I’m finally getting to your question. And it’s got to be promoting safe and sustainable and affordable and accessible mobility.
If it isn’t, I’m less interested, frankly speaking. And that’s, that’s the goal,
we’re all about.
On your specific idea of a beacon, it doesn’t necessarily trouble me so much for an equity point of view, because you got expensive and cheap bicycles, which you can do better things already. And hopefully, in the end, this kind of, if it takes off, this kind of technology can be rolled out relatively cheaply for for the marginal units to speak like a proper Forbes person. And and, you know, you can you can maximise the the cost benefit ratio with this type of technology. I don’t know, I’m not speaking about the specific but the idea is to when you have a good idea to ubiquitous it and get it out there.
Carlton Reid 40:10
Phillipe Crist, you’re gonna have to tell me your official job title. Yes, but quite a long one. Yeah. But at the International Transport Forum of the OCD,
Phillipe Criste 40:18
Yeah, the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation. Carlton Reid So where are you based?
We’re based in Paris with so the OECD is a intergovernmental body working on all aspects of regular governments education, policy, environment policy. And there’s also a semi autonomous body that works on transport. And that’s the international transport forum, we have 16 members around the world.
Carlton Reid 40:39
And is your background is as a statistician, is
that right? .
Phillipe Criste 40:43
God, no, my background, my undergraduate studies were in economics and anthropology and my graduate studies were in a natural resource management and logistics, management. I mean, the National … in French.
Brent Whittington 40:57
Is it the land use management part that got you in transport?
Phillipe Criste 41:01
What got me into transport is growing up in the United States and coming back to France every summer, and realising that even as a young child, the degree of freedom I had in France, being able to walk around to take the bus to cycle in cities was something I cannot even imagine in the United States. And I think when I think back, that was really the moment in which
those were the experiences that made me want to go into this field.
Carlton Reid 41:26
And if you had to describe what you did on a daily basis, what would that
Phillipe Criste 41:31
What do I type?
Carlton Reid 41:31
be? Describe your job, Phillipe Criste I sit in front of a computer, and I type
Who do you type to?
Phillipe Criste 41:40
We provide advice to transport ministries, and our member governments around the world and, and on a number of different levels. So on the first level is the classic world of the OECD, which is countries have objectives, targets, things they want to have happened. And then there’s what they do to make it happen. And our work is actually to analyse what they do to see if it actually will deliver what they want the objectives, the outcomes they want. Sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no, oftentimes, it’s maybe. And so we provide the analysis on how to actually better craft their policies to meet their objectives. But then there’s a whole other aspect, which is actually thinking beyond what they’re finding horizon is beyond where their their visibility is to try to find out what may be important for them in the future that they’re overlooking or not aware of, and help prepare them for that. And that is both the function of foresight, so everything that what’s coming down the pipeline, but it’s also a function of hindsight, and what is it that they should not forget? And a lot of the work around active mobility is of that type. What is it that we should not forget when we think about transport policy going forward?
Brent Whittington 42:13
But you gave the very thought provoking plenary, this morning, but I believe it was afterwards in like the Q&A session, where something jumped out at me in a meeting wrote it down in my notes, where you said in the future, we don’t want bike lanes, we want, in effect, light mobility lanes. So what do you mean by that? And I’m presuming you mean scooters? Or do you mean more than just scooters?
Phillipe Criste 43:09
I think we’re at a moment in time where the cities that we have the infrastructure, the transport infrastructure that we have in cities, has been built on a design that was made, at least in the 1920s and 30s, so almost 100 years ago, and that served relatively well, okay, a bit poorly in some areas. But generally, that’s the design we’ve inherited from having large vehicles, four wheels, with one person driving around. I don’t think that’s the model going forward. And I think in order to deliver better mobility outcomes in cities, we have to really think about seriously, and in some cases radically think about the reallocation of space in our cities. I don’t think having a model where you provide a lot of space for nearly empty vehicles is the right one going forward as we see urban crowd and go up around the world. And so that’s the point is that maybe we can think of reallocating, redesigning, reallocating space for different forms of mobility that isn’t based just on on if it runs on a combustion engine, but more on is it large or small? Is it fast or relatively slow? Is it measurable on a human scale, and can handle interactions with people walking, cycling or not? In that case, instead of having streets as we have in today, I think at some point, maybe in 100 years, let’s think far away, they will have a network that will be segregated, or defined by the mass and speed of objects on that network. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to talk about bicycle lanes and increasing them 30 centimetres, 50 centimetres, it makes sense to actually allocate all the street to things that are light and small, and not terribly fast. So light mobility lanes, and that allows you to have bicycles mixing with scooters, mixing with all types of things we have not yet thought of but that would fit into that category of not necessarily terribly dangerous things that should be given a lot of space in cities, and having the large, more dangerous things being pushed out to parts of the network where we feels comfortable, they can operate without actually harming or killing humans.
Carlton Reid 45:13
So that means behind us here, where we have lots of cars in the city centre might not be something for the future, we should be getting rid of the cars.
Phillipe Criste 45:24
that’s a that’s a leading question. But yes, that’s exactly what I think I’m looking outside the window here. And I can see there are three lanes, one that’s taken up by coaches, another one that’s taken up by a lot of other to their pickup by a lot of cars. I would be surprised that in 30 to 40 years, we would see that it would also be seen, it might also be seen as something that was in unthinkable and 30 or 40 years that we ever allocated space in that way. I think that of course not in all parts of the city, can you see this reallocation of space, this reallocation of the use of the networks that we put in place in our cities, but I think in much of the cities, it does make sense to actually, it’s not a question of banning cars, it’s just actually making the most efficient use of that space, and, and ensuring that the priority is given to those uses. When we talk about the the scooter wars, you know, the scooter wars are having both on where they should be stored and where they should run. It’s a discussion we’re only having because we’ve been pushed off into a very small slice of space that we have to share with bicycle scooters, pedestrians, etc. That’s the problem. It’s not the scooter itself, it’s the amount of space with which we have to work to actually use sensible sustainable options for the city.
Carlton Reid 46:39
And then in your plenary you also use the concept, I might be paraphrasing you a little bit but you are you are potentially cynical about the future for autonomous vehicles.
Phillipe Criste 46:55
I don’t think of myself as a cynic, a technical cynic, though I am French. So there’s maybe a little bit of that in my DNA. No, I’m a technical realist. And I have to say that we do interact a lot with the technology industry and those that actually are designing systems. And I think that kind of hyperbolic optimism that we had a few years ago, is of course natural with any new technology, but so also is natural, the kind of phase of deception that I think many are coming into, because we realise that the main issue with automating transport and making driving this transport possible isn’t actually replacing the mistakes that a small share of drivers make, it’s actually replicating the very good performance that most drivers have almost all the time. That’s a very different technical challenge. It’s easy to get rid of the mistakes, it’s very hard to actually duplicate what it is that we do well. And so that I think is a realistic view on where automated driving is going forward. probably makes sense in a few limited context. At first, it may never make sense in all context everywhere.
Carlton Reid 47:58
So it might work on a limited access freeway. So you have maybe trucks coming into the outskirts that then cargo bikes, maybe taking over in the cities, that kind of thing?
Phillipe Criste 48:10
Yeah, and think I think a real fundamental question that we tend to leave aside is, so, you know, we have this technology, automated driving. But oftentimes we forget what the question was that that’s the answer to and if if the question was, for example, we really need to make transport safer, we need to make car driving safer. Okay, that’s fair enough, that’s a very good target, very good goal to have, there are probably 30 to 40 things that I can think of right now that we could do first, to make it safer today, without having to go all the way to automated driving, and even those technology options like ISA – intelligent speed adaptation – even if we put that in place that might make the case for full on automation, not nearly as compelling as it seems to be today.
Carlton Reid 48:55
So I’ve just been driving a Tesla in the US, and I put it on autopilot
Phillipe Criste 49:00
now. And Scary, scary.
Carlton Reid 49:03
You can make it go faster. And you can just say, right? Well, autopilot mode, go at 90 miles an hour. So you’re you’re already 10 miles over the speed limit. And it does it because it’s just following your commands. But with the ISA, as an introduction, you’ve got to stop that sort of thing. And you could Tesla could do that right now it could just say, Well, okay, where we put an autopilot mode, it’s got to follow all the laws. And right now, it acts actually allowed to break the laws. And that’s that surely is down to lax regulation in the US would, but you can do it in the EU as well. So are we going to have regulations have to be brought in for this technology? Level two, level three, level four, whatever, before it can happen?
Phillipe Criste 49:47
Now, I think one of the things that we’re realising when we look into this space is technology space around transport. And one of the things that we see is that there are a large number, an increasing number, of automated decision making systems that are being deployed self driving vehicles. Tesla’s autopilot is one example of that. And at the same time, we have, of course, have at public authorities, concerns about what should happen and shouldn’t happen. We have laws and regulations to enforce that and to make sure that what happens does happen, what shouldn’t happen shouldn’t happen. Those laws and regulations are made in paper, they’re made in analogue form they’re made in human language, these automated decision making systems, they all run on code on algorithms. And I think that gap is in fact where you see a lot of tensions in this sort of technology space today. From a regulatory perspective, I think we need to think about machine readable law, machine readable regulations, ISA being one example of that, that makes it very difficult to and in some cases, impossible, transgress the law. There is this issue of the How then you actually designed a system for full automatic control, it’s very different than what we have today because our legal system is made for having some room for human interpretation in the world that I described to you human interpretation is not part of it. And so you have to really think about what law and what levels and what thresholds. But I think generally going forward, we can’t just sit on our backsides and think, well, we’ll just keep regulating as we have been, we as we have always, when the whole object of regulation is changing in a very different way. And in order to interpret our regulations, we have to depend on third parties, almost like an outsourcing of government for for that to take place. So I think self I mean, machine readable law, algorithmic systems of government are going to be part of the regulatory answer to all these technologies that are being deployed.
Carlton Reid 51:37
So, final question, and we can to hear that the the audience here is heading out to the nightlife of Dublin, I’m a cycle advocate. And again, I’m assuming that you professionally have got to be a bit more of a transport agnostic, you probably can’t come down on one form of transport or the other. However, on a spectrum, where would you place your views on cycling? And so how much could you say you’re a cycle advocate?
Phillipe Criste 52:05
Oh, are you kidding? I’m not a cycle advocate. I’m just someone who, who understands a good sense argument when you see it. And, and I don’t have to temper what I say. Because what I say about cycling and a lot of it is very good about cycling is based on evidence and it’s based on the outcomes that our country’s adhere to, something that is going to make us better, something that makes our cities function better, something that has monetizable, demonstrable benefits for society, those things cycling contributes to so I have no problem. saying those things without even being an advocate. Just on the facts. It makes sense. And of course, yes, I also quite like cycling.
It makes my job easier. Ha ha