The advent of road transport automation has been identified as one of four key technological transitions that could eventually amount to a major transformation in mobility practices (Parkhurst and Seedhouse, 2019). Specifically, fully Automated Vehicles (AVs) might replace, in large part, the current owner-user model of private car use with fleets of on-demand synchronously-shared automated taxis. However, significant barriers to the practices of vehicle sharing that underpin this vision becoming the norm remain (Whittle et al., 2019). The present paper draws on evidence from an online survey of the general public (n=899) to examine two critical user-acceptance aspects of the transition: willingness to adopt road transport automation in general, and willingness to share an automated vehicle with others, particularly strangers. The survey included a novel choice experiment featuring four future full-automation transport services (privately-owned AV car, exclusively-used AV taxi, SAV, and AV bus). Cluster analysis was applied to examine associations between respondents’ preferences and their demographic and psycho-social characteristics. We identify clusters of possible future users and non-users of shared AVs, based on these characteristics. Overall, our results reveal significant uncertainty about willingness to adopt automation and sharing. For example, fewer than half of participants report willingness to use an AV over their normal mode for a current urban journey, or would prefer an automated option to a current human-driven option. Our findings raise critical questions for policymakers and transport authorities. Not least, how can AVs help realise the positive environmental and social benefits of widespread vehicle sharing in a context of a travelling public that still prefers its privacy on-the-move?
Clayton, W., Parkhurst, G., Paddeu, D., & Parkin, J. (2019, July). Autonomous vehicles: Who will use them, and will they share?. Paper presented at Universities' Transport Study Group 2019 Conference