Estimating Safety Benefits and Costs and Changes in Vehicle Miles Traveled from Vehicle Automation

Source Organization:
University:Carnegie Mellon University
Principal Investigator:Chris Hendrickson
PI Contact
Project Manager:Courtney Ehrlichman
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization):$67,308
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Start and End Dates:January 2016 - January 2017
Project Status:Active
Subject Categories:Policy
Abstract:Vehicle automation has received considerable of attention, particularly due to its potential to improve road safety and decrease travel times. However, automation also has the potential to greatly alter travel patterns and in turn increase or decrease current total vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The net effect of automation on VMT is highly uncertain, depending strongly on cost, travel efficiency and comfort, and in-vehicle productivity. This policy research project would address two significant impacts of vehicle automation: 1. Do the safety benefits outweigh the technology costs for partial automation systems now being introduced? This task will use current motor vehicle offerings and insurance institute records. If new, partial automation technology is cost-effective, then it is highly likely that improved technology will be even more desirable. 2. What would be the bounds on the increases in VMT that might occur with driverless vehicles available for use? A large increase in VMT could result in many current transportation systems facing challenges in providing efficient and reliable service to users, while a decrease in VMT could have implications on land use. As vehicles become more automated, there are varying levels of crash avoidance technologies and potential safety benefits. During this transition period, additional VMT by automated and non-automated vehicles will likely have an impact on crash risk and road safety. This task will use NYC yellow taxicab trip and fare data, analytical models and expert elicitation to assess the overall likely impacts to current light duty VMT from vehicle automation. The task is intended to help inform decision makers among regional transportation managers, designers of connected and automated vehicle test beds, vehicle makers, transportation policy makers and the general public. Results are to be disseminated in the form of professional papers and policy briefs. In addition, the project personnel will continue to support the Traffic21 Connected and Automated Vehicle Policy Work, such as the TRB workshop summary underway.
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