The Critical Automobility Studies Lab (CAS) emerged from the NewHoRRIzon and the RiConfigure project at the end of 2019. It is an outcome and the successor of the Transportation Social Lab, seeking to address societal and ethical challenges within European research and innovation (R&I) funding, practices and systems, to aim for more inclusive, democratic, open and non-linear approaches to research and innovation.
Within the field of Critical Automobility Studies, the aim is to address contemporary challenges within mobility and mobility research through open, inclusive, democratic and critical approaches. The main problems the Lab tries to address are:
- Contemporary transport R&I being technology-driven, often times seeking for technological rather than societal solutions.
- The reduction of the so-called ‘human factor’ to ‘users’, rendering active societal involvement in research processes both non-viable and non-desirable.
- The reduction of gender to a ‘selling-option’, being considered primarily from a users’-perspective rather than breaking with the prevailing ‘malestream’ within the sector.
- The prevalent knowledge-hierarchy, where academia and industry (as ‘experts’) are given dominance in setting agendas and roadmaps for research and innovation.
- The reduction of ethics, which is primarily only considered in terms of making a product ‘ready’ and ‘feasible’ for the market.
These issues have been identified through the NewHoRRIzon Diagnosis and the NewHoRRIzon Social Lab process.
The aim of the CAS Lab is to address these challenges through:
- A change in R&I processes by applying open, inclusive and democratic approaches through the involvement of civil society (organizations), lay people and to foster exchange between different stakeholder groups (policy, research, business, funding, etc.).
- A change in R&I institutions to reflect the diversity of societal interests affected and reflected by institutional setups.
- Critically engaging contemporary R&I strategies and challenging the current ‘automobility imaginary’ within the sector.
- Offering research-based alternatives for changes within transport research and R&I.
- Developing pathways for post-automobility futures.