Attitudes Towards Emerging Mobility Options and Technologies

Heterogeneous Preferences for Activities While Traveling in Autonomous Vehicles: Relationships With Travel Contexts and Attitudes

Principal Investigator: Giovanni Circella, PhD, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Senior Research Engineer
Co-Principal Investigator: Patricia L. Mokhtarian, PhD, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor
Project Duration: 12 months
​Project Budget (Federal UTC Funds):
Project Budget (Cost-share): N/A
Georgia Institute of Technology

Although the literature on autonomous vehicles (AVs) has been growing with a focus on adoption, expected changes in travel behavior, and travel demand and land use in the future, few studies have analyzed envisioned activities in AVs, which will affect all those outcomes at the micro level. To address this gap, this study examines preferred activities in autonomous vehicles (AVs), and especially their heterogeneity. In doing so, it uses a rich survey dataset (N=3,376), collected in four regions of the southern United States from June 2019 to March 2020 and weighted to be representative of the study population on key sociodemographic features. A latent-class cluster analysis (LCCA) enables us to identify a few distinctive combinations of preferred in-vehicle activities, separately for one group of respondents with respect to hypothetical alone trips (N=1,995) and for another group with respect to family trips (N=1,381). The alone-trip model uncovers Active use of time (37.6%), Passive use of time (19.9%), Alert (23.8%), and No-ride (18.7%) classes. Similarly, the family-trip model reveals Active use of time (35.3%), Relax and interact (18.8%), Alert and interact (32.1%), and No-ride (13.9%) classes. As for underlying factors affecting individuals’ class membership, travel contexts, attitudes (e.g., tech-savviness, trust in AV technology, appreciation of varied benefits of AVs), and employment status (for alone-trip model only) account for the heterogeneity in preferences for in-vehicle activities and willingness to ride in AVs. With respect to the latter, we further examine their links to expected changes in travel behavior when AVs become available. In sum, this study investigates a wide range of in-vehicle activities (including the option of not to ride in an AV), identifies groups of activities preferred together, and explains respondents’ choices with respect to various attitudes and travel contexts.

Research Products and Implementation

Final Report