The rapid development of automated buses holds great potential for the development of transportation systems. As research into innovative forms of automated transportation systems gains momentum, it is important to understand the public’s perceptions of such public transport systems. Previous studies have contributed based on hypothetical scenarios, but not based on real observations. Based on an online survey in Stockholm in March 2019, the current research addresses this gap by investigating the public’s perceptions from a real, fully operational, automated public transportation service operated in a mixed traffic environment on public roads. The respondents were selected along the automated bus line in Barkabystaden, Stockholm. Our findings indicate that (1) The presence of onboard operators has a positive impact on respondents’ perceived safety, (2) People who have not taken automated buses before have a more negative perception of driving speed of the bus service than people who have taken the buses before, (3) Attitudinal factors, such as public perceptions of safety, driving speed, reliability, and convenience, have a significant influence on the acceptance of the new bus system, (4) As an emerging and innovative transportation mode, automated buses are expected to attract a high share of regular public transportation mode users and the younger generations in the future, (5) Social-demographic characteristics such as gender and income had no significant impacts on the adoption of the new technology. The results provide the characteristics of early bus adopters and their travel behavior and help to prioritize possible investments and allow the policymakers and private industries to identify the special needs of users.
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