Call for "Managed Transition" to driverless trucks over job fears

31/05/2017

A new report says governments must consider ways to manage the transition to driverless trucks in order to avoid potential social disruption from job losses.

The International Transport Forum (ITF), along with three partner organisations says that self-driving trucks will help save costs, lower emissions and make roads safer. They could also address the shortage of professional drivers faced by road transport industry, the study says.

However it adds that automated trucks could reduce the demand for drivers by 50-70% in the US and Europe by 2030, with up to 4.4 million of the projected 6.4 million professional trucking jobs becoming redundant, according to one scenario.

Even if the rise of driverless trucks dissuades newcomers from trucking, more than two million drivers in the US and Europe could be directly displaced, according to scenarios examined for the report.

The report makes four recommendations to help manage the transition to driverless road freight:


  • Establish a transition advisory board to advise on labour issues


  • Consider a temporary permit system to manage the speed of adoption


  • Set international standards, road rules and vehicle regulations for self-driving trucks


  • Continue pilot projects with driverless trucks to test vehicles, network technology and communications protocols.


These recommendations were agreed jointly by organisations representing truck manufacturers, truck operators and transport workers' unions, under the auspices of an intergovernmental organisation. This broad coalition of stakeholders lends the call to action particular weight.

The report was prepared jointly by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), the International Transport Workers' Federation and the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the road transport's industry's global body, in a project led by the International Transport Forum, a Paris-based intergovernmental organisation linked to the OECD.

José Viegas, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (ITF) said, 'Driverless trucks could be a regular presence on many roads within the next ten years. Self?driving trucks already operate in controlled environments like ports or mines. Trials on public roads are under way in many regions including the United States and the European Union. Manufacturers are investing heavily into automation, and many governments are actively reviewing their regulations. Preparing now for potential negative social impact of job losses will mitigate the risks in case a rapid transition occurs.'

Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), added, 'Harmonisation of rules across countries is critical for maximising the gains from driverless truck technology. Automated trucks are clearly not a national issue, as they should be able to move smoothly across borders. We need international standards, legislation and processes to obtain exemptions from road rules that are appropriate for self-driving trucks. Otherwise we risk having a patchwork of rules and regulations, which could hinder manufacturers and road users from investing in automated vehicles.'

Meanwhile Christian Labrot, President, International Road Transport Union (IRU), said, 'Autonomous trucks will bring many benefits to society, from cost savings and lower emissions to safer roads. Autonomous vehicles will also help the haulage sector deal with the current shortage of drivers in many parts of the world. However we have to remember the dedicated drivers of today will need to be retrained tomorrow, and we must keep attracting professionals into road transport. We all need to work together for a smooth transition to driverless technology.'

And Steve Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation, said, "Automation in trucking demands a managed and just transition. We strongly welcome the report's recommendation that trade unions must be part of any such process. We must avoid excessive hardship for truck drivers and ensure the gains from the technology are fairly shared across society. Self-driving trucks threaten to disrupt the careers and lives of millions of professional truck drivers. This report is a timely investigation into how that transition could happen. Its recommendations will help governments to ensure a just transition for affected drivers.'

The full report can be downloaded here.
Highways jobs

Transport Projects Officer

£32,418 - £37,722 pa
Your role will involve developing, implementing and monitoring various transport projects as part of multidisciplinary project teams. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Senior Engineer (Network Management)

£43,860 - £46,839 pa
Join us as a Senior Engineer (Network Management), and you’ll contribute to the development and implementation of... Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Highways Director

£92,402 to £101,644 per annum
As the Highways Director, you will lead and deliver the transformation of the Highways Division, to effectively... Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Environment & Transport Director

£92,402 - £101,644 per annum
As the Environment and Transport Director you will lead a dynamic and challenging set of services, covering... Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Principal Local Engineer

£35,745 - £43,857
The Principal Local Engineer role is to provide service at principal level to deliver Local Engineering duties Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Transport Development Officer

£39,880 to £43,857
This new and exciting role will be pivotal in helping deliver the implementation of change associated with our response to the National Bus Strategy. North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Waste Collection Operative - Loaders / HGV Drivers (Hays Recruitment)

Competitive Salary
Hays are excited to be working in partnership with Chelmsford City Council who are always looking to expand their teams and are looking for... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Commercial Vehicle Technician

£30,000 per annum
Responsibilities as our Commercial Vehicle Technician will include... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Climate Change Project Support Officer

£30,451 - £32,234 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to support for the development and delivery of the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

£34,728 - £38,890 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Highways & Flooding team for an experienced Senior Traffic Engineer. Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)
Recruiter: Monmouthshire County Council

Corporate Fleet & Transport Manager

£65,382 - £68,898 Per annum
To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life. London (Greater)
Recruiter: Islington London Borough Council

Senior Pest Control Officer

£34,209 - £36,708 p.a. inc.
You will need to be a self-starter and have a 'can do approach' to service delivery and problem solving. Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Nuisance Control Officer

£36,708- £42,855 inc. plus £4,800 shift allowance p.a
We are looking for a proactive and committed person with a strong customer focus, exceptional communication skills and a practical approach to... Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Development Control)

£32,910 - £35,745 per annum
You will need to have political awareness and good communication and negotiation skills, as well as experience of working with elected members. Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Head of Traffic & Capital Delivery

£56,100 - £63,633 per annum
We are looking for a Head of Traffic and Capital Delivery to join us at this critical time for Hounslow. Reporting to... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Flood Risk Project Manager

£30,451 to £32,910
We are looking for a Flood Risk Managers to lead on the development and progression of our Flood Management Scheme, identifying and... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Traffic Engineer

£45,834 - £48,819
The Highways and Traffic Management service are looking for a highly motivated Principal Engineer to continue this... London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Waltham Forest

Development and Flood Risk Officer

Up to £27816 per annum
Development and Flood Risk OfficerPermanent, Full TimeUp to £27,816 per annumLocation
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Safer Spaces Digital Evidence Officers (CCTV)

£25.137 - £26.520
Successful applicants will be expected to hold a CCTV Public Surveillance qualification(s) and hold a... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Engineer Transport and Development

£39,880 to £43,857
Due to expansion we are looking for a Senior Engineer Transport and Development to join our Transport and Development Team. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Revealed: Legal costs on the rise

Also Inside:

  • In memoriam: Steve Berry – a highways hero
  • Carbon knowledge is power
View the latest issue

Latest Video