DRAGON is a CEDR project investigating the implications of vehicle automation for national Road. DRAGON is supporting the movement towards high and full automation and realising the benefits and savings that come with it. It considers both the general case for NRAs (NAtiona Road Authorities) in Europe as a whole, as well as focussing on the particular needs of individual NRAs through three selected case studies.
Vehicle automation technology is developing rapidly with demand for automation systems across passenger cars and goods vehicles, based on existing benefits with current systems and greater anticipated benefits from higher levels of automation in future. The road networks which NRAs manage (mainly motorways and other strategic routes) are likely to be amongst the most suitable networks for automated vehicles, in that they are usually consistent, well-ordered environments in terms of layout, lane markings and signage, with comparatively few interfaces with other transport modes. It is important for NRAs to understand what potential benefits and costs automated vehicles may bring to their network, how they can best support their introduction, and to understand their potential role in influencing implementation, in order to maximise benefits and mitigate potentially negative side-effects. The success of automated vehicles ultimately hinges on how well they meet their users’ needs and this will be influenced by the support of the NRAs. As such the NRAs have the ability to influence directly the impacts of these vehicles on their network.
- Set out how vehicle automation will change road transport over the next 20 years
- Identify the constraints and enablers which will respectively hinder and facilitate progress, with a focus on the impacts on National Road Authorities (NRAs) and how automated vehicles will affect NRA operations
- Facilitate NRAs in taking decisions on when and how to provide support for automated vehicles
The approach has been to understand the potential costs, benefits and implications of vehicle automation to support European NRAs in making decisions that will help to achieve the best outcomes. The project covers all the steps from situations of no vehicle automation through to high and full vehicle automation, and from no NRA support to the deployment of vehicle automation through to NRAs providing support with policy, regulatory and infrastructure changes where relevant.