Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Managing the Transition to Driverless Road Freight Transport

Managing the Transition to Driverless Road Freight Transport cover image

This report considers how a transition to driverless road freight transport could happen. Today’s technology already makes it possible to operate automated trucks. Reduced reliance on humans to move road freight in the future could offer large cost savings for businesses and consumers. It could also disrupt the careers and lives of millions of professional truck drivers. Based on different scenarios for the large-scale introduction of automated road freight transport, this study makes recommendations to help governments manage potential disruption and ensure a just transition for affected drivers. 

Three leading transport-sector organisations joined the International Transport Forum for this study to assess benefits, costs and risks of driverless trucks. The International Road Transport Unions, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association contributed data and insights on driverless technology in the road freight sector as well as funds for the research.

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Policy Insights

  • Continue driverless truck pilot projects to test vehicles, network technology and communications protocols.
  • Set international standards, road rules and vehicle regulations for self-driving trucks.
  • Establish a temporary transition advisory board for the trucking industry.
  • Consider a temporary permit system to manage the speed of adoption and to support a just transition for displaced drivers, while ensuring fair access to markets.

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