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Conference Abstract: Assessing the Socio-Economic Implications Related to the Emergence of Shared Autonomous Vehicles

This is the abstract submitted for a presentation given at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Transportation and Development Conference held June 9-12 2019 in Alexandria, Virginia.  The presentation was given by Lisa Losada-Rojas, based on her work on the CCAT project Public Acceptance and Socio-Economic Analysis of Shared Autonomous Vehicles: Implications for Policy and Planning.

The emergence of shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) is expected to alter transportation costs and patterns, thus affecting accessibility and mobility (i.e., transportation disadvantage), and could have direct and indirect socio-economic implications, such as access to opportunities and flexible and affordable mobility.  This presentation will describe the methodology and results of a socio-economic analysis related to SAV adoption of two U.S. metropolitan areas.  Using data from two online stated-preference surveys and publicly available data, such as the 2017 NHTS and census data, this study employed a multi-spatial perspective approach that involves accessibility, mobility, and outcome-based to identify transportation disadvantaged areas.  The results of this spatial analysis were integrated with the results of the SAV market segmentation analysis for each area to assess to what extent transportation disadvantaged groups (e.g., unemployed, people below poverty line, households with zero vehicles, elderly people, etc.) intend to adopt SAVs, as well as identify potential geographical areas where SAVs can be effectively deployed.  It was found that early adopters are typically young, of high educational level, frequent users of public transportation or ride-hailing services, and most of them reside in non-transportation disadvantaged areas.  On the other hand, late adopters typically do not own a car, are of lower income and most of them reside in transportation disadvantaged areas.  As such, while SAVs are advocated to enhance mobility for disadvantaged groups, strategies need to be put in place to accelerate adoption amongst these groups.