Publication Detail

Brief: Partially Automated Vehicles Are Increasing Vehicle Miles Traveled



UC ITS Research Reports

Suggested Citation:
Hardman, Scott, Debapriya Chakraborty, Eben Kohn (2021) Brief: Partially Automated Vehicles Are Increasing Vehicle Miles Traveled. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Brief UCD-ITS-RR-21-34

Research is beginning to show that vehicle automation will encourage more driving because it substantially reduces driver workload, making driving more relaxing and less stressful. This will have environmental sustainability implications, given that vehicle electrification alone will not be sufficient to meet state and federal greenhouse gas reduction targets without reductions in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Research on the effects of vehicle automation has been somewhat speculative because fully automated vehicles are not yet commercially available. But many automakers are already incorporating automated features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist into their vehicles. These features assist in driving tasks and reduce the “cost” of driving in much the same way fully automated vehicles promise to do. Researchers at UC Davis surveyed owners of partially automated electric vehicles in California to understand the impact of partial automation on VMT. The survey asked respondents about their use of partial automation systems including BMW Driving Assistant, Ford Co-pilot360, Honda Sensing, Nissan ProPilot Assist, Tesla Autopilot, and Toyota Safety Sense. The results of this study show that partial automation has the potential to cause large increases in VMT.
Key words: Electric vehicles, intelligent vehicles, level 2 driving automation, travel behavior, travel models, vehicle miles of travel, surveys