Publication Detail

Brief: Real-World Simulations of Life with an Autonomous Vehicle Suggest Increased Mobility and Vehicle Travel



Suggested Citation:
Harb, Mustapha, Joan L. Walker, Jai Malik, Giovanni Circella (2021) Brief: Real-World Simulations of Life with an Autonomous Vehicle Suggest Increased Mobility and Vehicle Travel. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Brief UCD-ITS-RR-21-83

Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to have a profound effect on travel behavior. The technology will provide convenience and better mobility for many, allowing owners to perform other tasks while traveling, summon their vehicles from a distance, and send vehicles off to complete tasks without them. These travel behaviors could lead to increases in vehicle miles traveled that will have major implications for traffic congestion and pollution. To estimate the extent to which travel behavior will change, researchers and planners have typically relied on adjustments to existing travel simulations or on surveys asking people how they would change their behavior in a hypothetical autonomous vehicle future. Researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis used a new approach to understand the potential influence of autonomous vehicles on travel behavior by conducting the first naturalistic experiment mimicking the effect of autonomous vehicle ownership. Private chauffeurs were provided to 43 households in the Sacramento, California region for one or two weeks. By taking over driving duties for the household, the private chauffeurs served the household as an autonomous vehicle would. Researchers tracked household travel prior to, during, and after the week(s) with access to the chauffeur service.

Key words: accessible transportation and mobility, accessible vehicles, autonomous vehicles, behavior analysis, travel behavior, disability, elderly, household travel surveys, pattern (behavior, choices), planning and analysis, policy and organization, sustainability and resilience, technology, transportation and society, travel survey methods, travel surveys, traveler behavior and values