Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies

Anticipating a World of Shared Autonomous Vehicles: Cost, Energy, and Urban System Implications

Dr Kara Kockelman, Dewitt Greer Professor of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin

4th Apr 2018  01:00 pm - 02:00 pm Seminar Room 3200, Abercrombie Building (H70)

Abstract: Connected and (fully-) automated vehicles (CAVs) are set to disrupt the  ways in which we travel. CAVs will affect road safety, congestion levels,  vehicle ownership and destination choices, long-distance trip-making  frequencies, mode choices, and home and business locations. Benefits in the  form of crash savings, driving burden reductions, fuel economy, and parking  cost reductions are on the order of $2,000 per year per CAV, rising to nearly  $5,000 when comprehensive crash costs are reflected. However, vehicle-miles  traveled (VMT) are likely to rise, due to AVs traveling empty, longer-distance  trip-making, and access for those currently unable to drive, such as those with  disabilities. New policies and practices are needed, to avoid CAV pitfalls  while exploiting their benefits.

Shared AVs (SAVs) will offer many people access to  such technologies at relatively low cost (e.g., $1 per mile), with  empty-vehicle travel on the order of 10 to 15 percent of fleet VMT. If SAVs are  smaller and electric or more fuel efficient, and dynamic ride-sharing is  enabled and regularly used, emissions and energy demand may fall. If road tolls  are thoughtfully applied, using GPS across all congested segments and times of  day, total VMT may not rise: instead, travel times - and their unreliability -  may fall. If credit-based congestion pricing is used, traveler welfare may rise  and transportation systems may ultimately operate near-optimally. This  presentation will present research relating to all these topics, to help  students and researchers think about policies, technologies, and other tools to  improve quality of life for all travelers.

Bio: Dewitt Greer Professor of Civil, Architectural &  Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, Kara  Kockelman is a registered professional engineer and holds a PhD, MS, and BS  in civil engineering, a master’s of city planning, and a minor in economics  from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Kockelman has been a  professor of transportation engineering at the University of Texas at Austin  for the past 19 years. She is primary and co-author of over 140 journal  articles (and one book) across a variety of subjects, nearly all of which  involve transportation-related data analysis. Her primary research interests  include planning for shared and autonomous vehicle systems, the statistical  modeling of urban systems (including models of travel behavior, trade, and  location choice), energy and climate issues (vis-à-vis transport and land use  decisions), the economic impacts of transport policy, and crash occurrence and  consequences. For the past few months, she has been a Visiting and Honorary  Professor at the University of Queensland.