• Transportation Research Board

      TRB 96th Annual Meeting

      January 8–12, 2017

    • Interactive Program


Annual Meeting Event Detail

Session 529

Managing the Transition to Shared Automated Vehicles

Tuesday 8:00 AM- 9:45 AM
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Marie Venner, Venner Consulting, presiding
Sponsored by:
Standing Committee on Vehicle-Highway Automation (AHB30)
Planning and Environment Group (AD000)
Standing Committee on Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies (ADC80)
Operations and Preservation Group (AH000)
Safety and Systems Users Group (AN000)
Public Transportation Group (AP000)
Standing Committee on Emerging and Innovative Public Transport and Technologies (AP020)

This session explores the public policies that are likely to influence the deployment of automation in fleets of shared vehicles and the broad range of impacts that those vehicles could have on the transportation system.  The presentations and discussion will cover impacts on congestion, emissions, energy use, space needed for streets and parking, accessibility, and social inclusion, and will address the research and policy actions that should be considered to facilitate deployment of shared automated vehicles.

The public policies that are adopted are likely to determine whether automated vehicles (AVs) achieve reduced VMT and meet other social objectives.  A May 2016 study by the OECD International Transport Forum (OECD-ITF), “Urban Mobility System Upgrade: How Shared Self-driving Cars Could Change City Traffic” models the impact of replacing all car and bus trips in a city with mobility provided through fleets of shared vehicles. How will these public policy decisions impact safety for all modes of travel? And how will it affect policy, planning, design, construction, maintenance & operations?  The OECD-ITF study explored sharing of vehicles among multiple travelers, simultaneously and not just sequentially, in a medium size European city (Lisbon), simulating impacts on:

  • the number of vehicles required
  • distance driven
  • effects on congestion
  • CO2 emissions
  • use of public space
  • citizen’s experience
  • social inclusion measured by the level of accessibility of jobs, schools and health services.

Notably, the model showed that wide-scale implementation of shared taxis and taxi-buses eliminated congestion, reduced traffic emissions by a third, and greatly reduced (by 95%) space required for public parking, all with a car fleet of only 3% of the size of the today's fleet and 37% less VMT, even during peak hours.  The turnover cycle with cars would be greater, as remaining cars car would average 10x the current mileage annually (vs. today’s mainly parked cars).

The study indicated that citizens would gain in many ways beyond solving congestion. Almost all of their trips were direct, without need for transfers. Mobility was much cheaper thanks to the highly efficient use of capacity; trip prices could be 50% or less of today’s cost even without subsidy.  More road space would be available for re-allocation to broader sidewalks, business benefit, and more and better bicycle lanes. Particularly striking was how a shared mobility system improved access and social inclusion in the model outcomes; inequalities in access to jobs, schools or health services across the city virtually disappeared, with major benefits for health, safety, and resilience.

The transition phase from individual use of cars to trip-shared mobility appears critical to achieving such socially positive results, hence the discussion at this session will dive into this.

 Session Topics Include:

  • What guiding policies need to be implemented and how likely are public authorities to enact these?
  • Is this the vision that the public, and public authorities acting on their behalf, have for the future?
  • Can current institutions accommodate the rapid change necessary to achieve this vision?
  • How long will it take for the automation technology to become available to support this vision of mobility in an economically viable fashion?
  • How well would the results for a high-density European case study city translate to American cities with significantly lower density of development?
  • What does the roadmap to this future look like?


Title Presentation Number
What Conditions and Sets of Policies Lead to Different Outcomes?
José Viegas, International Transport Forum


Los Angeles DOT Strategy for Mobility in a Digital Age
Seleta Reynolds, City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation


First- and Last-Mile Autonomous Vehicle Pilot with EasyMile
Randell Iwasaki, Contra Costa Transportation Authority


Impacts of Shared, Connected, and Automated Vehicle Systems: Recommendations for Public Agencies
Kara Kockelman, University of Texas, Austin


Discussant: Research and Policy Actions Needed to Support Implementation
Steven Shladover, California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology