Farzad Alemi, Susan Handy, Giovanni Circella, Yunshi Wang, Susan Pike
Automated vehicles (AVs, also known as autonomous, driverless, or self-driving vehicles), a revolution in mobility, are emerging and developing rapidly. Commonly believed benefits of AVs include that they not only help improve social equity in transportation, relieve stress for drivers, and save parking cost, etc. However, public attitude toward this new unproven technology is still unsure. Given the significant influence of attitude toward a new technology on the intention to use it, which has been shown in many previous studies, a question arise that why some people are in favor of this technology acceptance whereas others are not? Additionally, what attitudes play important roles in explaining AV technology acceptance, where they come from, and how they interact with each other are still unclear. To achieve a high level of public acceptance and further adoption, therefore, it is critical to understand various attitudes toward this technology and thereby to increase positive attitudes toward it.This project aims to explore these research questions based on empirical evidence from a self-driving electric shuttle, which will be operated in West Village of the UC Davis starting in January 2019, and later expanded to main campus and adjacent geographical areas. We will use a before-and-after design that involves surveys of people who study or work in West Village before the deployment of the automated shuttle and again four months after it starts operation. This design enables an evaluation of potential causal relationships between some targeted factors. The insights provided from this research will help understand various attitudes toward AV technology, their interactions, and their contributions to the formation of AV acceptance and adoption as well. Additionally, this design will enable an assessment of potential use of the shuttle service but of the impact of the service on attitudes towards automation and ride-sharing. The results will help transportation planners better understand the public attitude, facilitators and barriers of its adoption, as well as potential market and influences of future AVs and thereby help prepare for a future dominated by automated vehicles.