Consumer Interest and Policy Implications of Highly Automated Vehicles in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area: 2016-2021

Usage and Public Support for Pandemic-Time Street Reallocation Projects in Three Canadian Urban Centres
March 22, 2022

Pictured Above: Busy traffic in Toronto's financial district. Photo by Nicolas Zucco, 2022.

Authors: Andrew Robertson , Dani Kogan , and Matthias Sweet

Report Design by Patrick Yutiga

For almost a decade, automated vehicles have been highlighted as a potentially transformative technology which may revolutionize the transportation industry. Despite significant work in the intervening time, it still remains unclear under what conditions highly automated vehicles will be normalized as part of the broader transportation system.

This report focuses on consumer attitudes towards automated vehicles (AVs) among residents living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) (including Toronto, Hamilton, Halton, Peel, York, and Durham). For the purposes of this study, the term “automated vehicles” or “AVs” is used to describe SAE Level-5 fully-automated vehicles (in which passengers do not control safety-critical functions) unless otherwise noted. This work uses new survey data collected in fall 2021 (N=2,549) and augments data previously collected in 2016 (N=3,201) and 2018 (N=3,200), providing key descriptive findings with respect to three broad research questions:

  1. What are the public’s expectations with respect to policymakers and planners actions towards highly automated vehicles?
  2. What are the public’s attitudes towards and propensities to use highly automated vehicles?
  3. Each of these first two questions are further explored with respect to: how have the public’s attitudes towards highly automated vehicles changed between 2016 and 2021.