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600451-00081-1 Report Abstract

The Future of Fully Automated Vehicles: Opportunities for Vehicle- and Ride-Sharing, with Cost and Emissions Savings

Daniel Fagnant and Kara Kockelman, August, 2014

Fully automated or autonomous vehicles (AVs) hold great promise for the future of transportation. By 2020 Google, auto manufacturers and other technology providers intend to introduce self-driving cars to the public with either limited or fully autonomous capabilities. AVs may be able to save the U.S. economy up to $37.7 billion in comprehensive costs from safety, mobility and parking improvements at the 10% market penetration, and potentially up to $447.1 billion with 90% market penetration. Even with only 10% market share, over 1,000 lives could be saved annually. However, realizing these potential benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls requires more than just technology advancements: significant barriers to a successful rollout include AV costs, liability, security, and privacy.

Once fully self-driving vehicles can safely and legally drive unoccupied on U.S. streets, a new transportation mode for personal travel looks set to arrive. This new mode is the shared automated vehicle (SAV), combining on-demand service with self-driving capabilities. This work simulates a fleet of SAVs operating within the city of Austin, using Austin’s transportation network and travel demand flows. This model incorporates dynamic ride-sharing (DRS), allowing two or more travelers with similar origins, destinations and departure times to share a ride.

Model results indicate that each SAV could replace around 10 conventionally-owned household vehicles while serving over 56,000 person-trips. SAVs’ ability to relocate while unoccupied between serving one traveler and the next may cause an increase of 4-8% more travel; however, DRS can result in reduced overall VMT, given enough SAV-using travelers willing to ride-share. SAVs should produce favorable emissions outcomes, with an estimated 16% less energy use and 48% lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, per person-trip formerly served by a household vehicle.

Keywords: Autonomous Vehicles, Automated Vehicles, Car-Sharing, Ride-Sharing, Emissions

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 2.1 MB)