• April 16th, 2020

Automated vehicles hold the potential to disrupt our transportation system
in the 21st century. Experts predict that vehicles could be fully automated by as early as 2025 or as late as 2035. While vehicle automation may improving safety and efficiency and expanding mobility, the technology could also lead people to drive more often and longer distances, resulting in more road congestion, energy use, and emissions.

Methods are needed to help the public and private sectors understand automated vehicle technologies and their system-level effects.

Researchers at UC Davis explored what an automated vehicle future in the San Francisco Bay Area might look like by simulating:

  1. A 100% personal automated vehicle future and its effects on
    travel and greenhouse emissions.
  2. The introduction of an automated taxi service with plausible per mile fares and its effects on conventional personal vehicle and transit travel.

Key Research Findings

  • Automated vehicle technology is likely to increase vehicle miles traveled and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Congestion could improve—or worsen somewhat—due to induced travel.
  • Automated vehicle technology could undermine efforts to maintain or expand use of carpooling, transit, walking, and bicycling modes.
  • Road pricing policies could counteract negative impacts of automated vehicles.

Rodier, C., Jaller, M., Pourrahmani, E., Pahwa, A., Bischoff, J., & Freedman, J. (2020). Automated Vehicles are Expected to Increase Driving and Emissions Without Policy Intervention. UC Davis: National Center for Sustainable Transportation. http://dx.doi.org/10.7922/G2G73BZW Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4sf2n6rs