City Planning Needed as 6 out of 10 Global Consumers Expect Driverless Revolution

24 Nov 2015

Peter Vanham, Media Lead, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 79 620 9129; Email:

  • Nearly 60% of consumers in cities around the world are willing to travel in self-driving vehicles, according to a new World Economic Forum survey; acceptance highest in emerging markets such as China, India and UAE; around 50% in US and UK; lowest in Japan and Germany
  • City planners and governments need to prepare for introduction of self-driving cars; smart mobility cities such as Gothenburg and Singapore are already doing so
  • Find the full results of the survey here

New York, USA 24 November 2015 – The age of autonomous vehicles is fast approaching, and city leaders need to take steps to prepare as the disruptive technology becomes a reality, according to new survey results by the World Economic Forum released today.

Nearly 60% of consumers report willingness to travel in a fully self-driving vehicle (SDV), and cities expect shared SDVs to be more common in the next 10 years. In the consumer survey among 5,500 respondents in 10 countries, acceptance is highest in emerging markets, such as China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with about 50% in the US and the UK; acceptance rates were lowest in Japan and Germany.

As part of a project the World Economic Forum also conducted interviews with over 20 city policy-makers and transport authorities from cities such as Dubai, Helsinki, New York, Amsterdam, Singapore and Toronto about their expectations for SDVs. The survey showed that most city authorities believe that applications like shared self-driving vehicles are coming very quickly and will have the potential to be the last-mile solution for public transport.

Nevertheless, most cities have yet to integrate SDV technology into their future mobility plans. “Many cities aren’t yet seeing how the programmes of today, such as car sharing and smart parking, might provide an essential backbone for shared self-driving vehicle programmes in the future,” said Alex Mitchell, Head of the Automotive Industry at the World Economic Forum.

For cities that have started planning, trials with SDVs are often the first step to test their impact on urban mobility. Such trials are ongoing in Singapore, and are under way in Gothenburg, (Sweden) and Milton Keynes (UK).

For the development of self-driving cars, 46% of consumers want traditional car manufacturers to play a leading role; 69% of those consumers preferring a car manufacturer would like to see technology players provide their relevant expertise. The central role of the car manufacturers was most important to consumers in France, Germany and Japan, all traditional centres for car manufacturing. Globally, two-thirds of consumers expect self-driving vehicles to be electric or hybrid.

“This survey is reassuring news for the traditional automotive companies; consumers trust them to play a leading role in the roll-out of SDVs,” said Nikolaus Lang, a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group and main knowledge collaborator of the report.

Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, welcomed the results. He said “These survey results reinforce the opportunity we see for autonomous vehicles to be part of the solution as the urban transportation model is redefined. They also highlight the importance of the private and public sectors working together to shape an innovative future for mobility.”

To view the survey results, visit


About the survey

The World Economic Forum, with support of the Boston Consulting Group, conducted qualitative and quantitative surveys of 5,500 consumers living in cities in 10 countries (China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US), as well as interviews with 25 policy-makers in 12 cities (Amsterdam, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Gothenburg, Graz, Helsinki, Miami, Milton Keynes, New York, Pittsburgh, Singapore and Toronto). The survey goals were to understand attitudes towards self-driving vehicles and related business models.


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Author: Media Team
All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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