Automated Vehicles in the GTHA: Consumer and Policy Outlook

Automated vehicles may dramatically transform how we travel in cities.  They could yield enormous benefits from congestion reduction, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, safer streets, and more reliable travel conditions.  But they likewise could erode the market share of public transit, threaten the long-term financial outlook of public transit operators, and lead to rampant urban sprawl.  Harnessing the positive elements of automated vehicles through policy action while limiting the negative consequences hinges on understanding how consumers are likely to adopt, use, and engage in activities using this new technology.  Visions of shared automated vehicles (SAVs) or privately held automated vehicles (AVs) may lead to significant differences in whether individuals privately or society collectively benefits more from automated vehicles.

Consumer responses to and policy implications of autonomous vehicles are of critical interest to both transportation planning scholars and practitioners, making an understanding of the implications of autonomous vehicles a critical social goal for knowledge creation and research development.  To that end, this study proposes to administer a consumer survey to estimate how Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area residents are likely to adopt, use, and respond to automated vehicles.  This survey focuses each on the vehicle ownership, travel behavior, and location decision elements of consumer choice.

Supported by Metrolinx and City of Toronto