Use of Autonomous Vehicles for Running Errands and Future Autonomous Vehicle Adoption

How Will Use of Autonomous Vehicles for Running Errands Affect Future Autonomous Vehicle Adoption and Ownership?

Principal Investigator: Ram M. Pendyala, Director, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
Co-Principal Investigator: Sara Khoeini, Assistant Research Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
Project Duration: 12 months
​Project Budget (Federal UTC Funds): N/A
Project Budget (Cost-share): N/A
Institution: Arizona State University

Transportation is experiencing disruptive forces in recent years. One key disruption is the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs) that will be capable of navigating roadways on their own without the need for human presence in the vehicle. In a utopian scenario, AVs may enter the transportation landscape and foster a more sustainable and livable ecosystem with shared automated electric vehicles (SAEV) serving mobility needs and eliminating the need for private ownership. In a more dystopian scenario, AVs would be personally owned by households – enabling people to live farther away from destinations, inducing additional travel, and roaming roadways with zero occupants. Concerned with the potential deleterious effects of having personal AVs running errands autonomously, this report aims to shed light on the level of interest in sending AVs to run errands and how that variable affects the intent to own an AV. Using data from a survey conducted in 2019 in four automobile-oriented metropolitan regions in the United States, the relationship is explored through a joint model system estimated using the Generalized Heterogeneous Data Model (GHDM) methodology. Results show that, even after accounting for socio-economic and demographic variables as well as latent attitudinal constructs, the level of interest in having AVs run errands has a positive and significant effect on AV ownership intent. The findings point to the need for policies that would steer the entry and use of AVs in the marketplace in ways that avoid a dystopian future.

Research Products and Implementation

​Final Report