Special Issue "Sustainability of Automated and Connected Transport - The User Perspective"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 12 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Yoram Shiftan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Technion City, Haifa 32000, Israel
Interests: travel behaviour; transport policy; transport economics; sustainability; automated and connected cars
Prof. Dr. Amalia Polydoropoulou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Shipping Trade & Transport, University of the Aegean, Chios, 72100, Greece
Interests: demand modelling; advanced research methods and tools; business models; mobility-as-a-service; last-mile deliveries automated and connected transport
Dr. Nikolas Thomopoulos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
WISE-ACT Chair, Department of Tourism and Transport, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
Interests: wider impact of autonomous and connected transport
Dr. Valentina Rappazzo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Politecnico di Torino - Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST), Viale Mattioli, 39 – 10125, Torino, Italy
Interests: transport externalities; transport policy; sustainability; travel behaviour; automated and connected vehicles/cars

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Automated and connected transport (ACT) offers increased opportunities to support new transportation services whilst having the potential to make transport more sustainable. Car sharing, ride hailing, and other emerging transport services are expected to support the mobility as a service (MaaS) concept and practice, as well as relevant business models, promoting improved public transport and innovative last mile solutions. By focusing on road transport and primarily on cars, this Special Issue aims at contributing in this developing debate among scholars and practitioners. However, research to date has largely focused on the vehicle aspect of this innovation as well as on policy requirements during the last few years. Yet, a core component of this debate missing to date is the user perspective and behaviour, which can have a significant effect on their impact on sustainability.

Therefore, this Special Issue seeks to understand the potential impact of ACT on user mobility, and in turn on sustainability overall. If all transport users use innovative shared mobility services, then car ownership levels would be reduced, making an important contribution in meeting global sustainability objectives. Equally, if ACT led to increased individual car use and ownership levels due to potential benefits, such as reduced parking needs and ease of travel, then transport networks would come into a complete gridlock as some recent studies have already shown, increasing congestion in cities with a wide use of ride-hailing services. Eventually, the latter would have a seriously negative impact on sustainability.

Papers in this Special Issue are invited by experts from any sustainability-related discipline to address the wider impacts of ACT based on empirical evidence and surveys of user preferences and acceptance levels. Survey data could be attitudinal data, revealed preference data or stated preference data based on future scenarios. All papers should also make explicit links with socioeconomic, business or policy implications of sustainable deployment of ACT. Large-scale surveys, surveys using innovative data collection or presentation methods, and cross-country comparisons are particularly welcome. The dissemination of research results, tests, developments, and applications will be crucial to steer the governance concerning the spread of ACT, with the aim to effectively and truly contribute to a more sustainable transport.

Indicative topics of this Special Issue could be:

  • Identifying the key behavioural, economic, social, demographic or cultural factors determining the attitude of transport users towards ACT;
  • Analysing the behaviour of ACT users by comparing their choices through revealed or stated preference experiments;
  • Reviewing and evaluating the value of travel time for ACT;
  • Evaluating socioeconomic challenges of ACT, e.g., equity, privacy, security;
  • Adjusting survey methods and suggest innovative data collection methodologies for ACT.

Prof. Dr. Yoram Shiftan
Prof. Dr. Amalia Polydoropoulou
Dr. Nikolas Thomopoulos
Dr. Valentina Rappazzo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Automated and connected transport
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Automated vehicles
  • Automated cars
  • Shared transport
  • Emerging transportation services
  • Travel behaviour
  • Travel time budget
  • Value of time
  • User acceptance
  • Survey
  • AV
  • Sustainability

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Does a Test Ride Influence Attitude towards Autonomous Vehicles? A Field Experiment with Pretest and Posttest Measurement
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5387; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105387 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt the mobility system. Therefore, it is important to understand attitude formation towards autonomous vehicles. The focus of this study is on the private user’s technology acceptance of an autonomous vehicle. The study applies the determinants of [...] Read more.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt the mobility system. Therefore, it is important to understand attitude formation towards autonomous vehicles. The focus of this study is on the private user’s technology acceptance of an autonomous vehicle. The study applies the determinants of technology acceptance to capture users’ attitude towards and intention to adopt autonomous vehicles. A field experiment with 27 participants was conducted to assess changes in determinants before and after a test ride with a level 2 automated vehicle. The automated vehicle was equipped with technology that allowed a hands-off, feet-off experience on a public road in real traffic. The results show that a ride has a positive and significant effect on attitudes towards autonomous vehicles. Additionally, participants with higher ratings of technology anxiety show a remarkable increase in attitude towards autonomous vehicles after the ride compared to participants with lower levels of technology anxiety. These findings indicate that experience with a partially automated vehicle has a potentially positive effect on the acceptance of autonomous vehicles. As such, our study illustrates the importance of continuous pilot testing with private automated vehicles to increase future user acceptance of autonomous vehicles. Full article
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Article
Who Is Willing to Share Their AV? Insights about Gender Differences among Seven Countries
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4769; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094769 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 520
Abstract
The introduction of shared autonomous vehicles into the transport system is suggested to bring significant impacts on traffic conditions, road safety and emissions, as well as overall reshaping travel behaviour. Compared with a private autonomous vehicle, a shared automated vehicle (SAV) is associated [...] Read more.
The introduction of shared autonomous vehicles into the transport system is suggested to bring significant impacts on traffic conditions, road safety and emissions, as well as overall reshaping travel behaviour. Compared with a private autonomous vehicle, a shared automated vehicle (SAV) is associated with different willingness-to-adopt and willingness-to-pay characteristics. An important aspect of future SAV adoption is the presence of other passengers in the SAV—often people unknown to the cotravellers. This study presents a cross-country exploration of user preferences and WTP calculations regarding mode choice between a private non-autonomous vehicle, and private and shared autonomous vehicles. To explore user preferences, the study launched a survey in seven European countries, including a stated-preference experiment of user choices. To model and quantify the effect of travel mode attributes and socio-demographic characteristics, the study employs a mixed logit model. The model results were the basis for calculating willingness-to-pay values for all countries and travel modes, and provide insight into the significant heterogeneous, gender-wise effect of cotravellers in the choice to use an SAV. The study results highlight the importance of analysis of the effect of SAV attributes and shared-ride conditions on the future acceptance and adoption rates of such services. Full article
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Article
Modeling Cross-National Differences in Automated Vehicle Acceptance
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229765 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
The technology that allows fully automated driving already exists and it may gradually enter the market over the forthcoming decades. Technology assimilation and automated vehicle acceptance in different countries is of high interest to many scholars, manufacturers, and policymakers worldwide. We model the [...] Read more.
The technology that allows fully automated driving already exists and it may gradually enter the market over the forthcoming decades. Technology assimilation and automated vehicle acceptance in different countries is of high interest to many scholars, manufacturers, and policymakers worldwide. We model the mode choice between automated vehicles and conventional cars using a mixed multinomial logit heteroskedastic error component type model. Specifically, we capture preference heterogeneity assuming a continuous distribution across individuals. Different choice scenarios, based on respondents’ reported trip, were presented to respondents from six European countries: Cyprus, Hungary, Iceland, Montenegro, Slovenia, and the UK. We found that large reservations towards automated vehicles exist in all countries with 70% conventional private car choices, and 30% automated vehicles choices. We found that men, under the age of 60, with a high income who currently use private car, are more likely to be early adopters of automated vehicles. We found significant differences in automated vehicles acceptance in different countries. Individuals from Slovenia and Cyprus show higher automated vehicles acceptance while individuals from wealthier countries, UK, and Iceland, show more reservations towards them. Nontrading mode choice behaviors, value of travel time, and differences in model parameters among the different countries are discussed. Full article
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Article
The Role of Human Operators in Safety Perception of AV Deployment—Insights from a Large European Survey
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219166 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 622
Abstract
Autonomous vehicles are anticipated to play an important role on future mobility offering encouraging solutions to today’s transport problems. However, concerns of the public, which can affect the AVs’ uptake, are yet to be addressed. This study presents relevant findings of an online [...] Read more.
Autonomous vehicles are anticipated to play an important role on future mobility offering encouraging solutions to today’s transport problems. However, concerns of the public, which can affect the AVs’ uptake, are yet to be addressed. This study presents relevant findings of an online survey in eight European countries. First, 1639 responses were collected in Spring 2020 on people’s commute, preferred transport mode, willingness to use AVs and demographic details. Data was analyzed for the entire dataset and for vulnerable road users in particular. Results re-confirm the long-lasting discourse on the importance of safety on the acceptance of AVs. Spearman correlations show that age, gender, education level and number of household members have an impact on how people may be using or allowing their children to use the technology, e.g., with or without the presence of a human supervisor in the vehicle. Results on vulnerable road users show the same trend. The elderly would travel in AVs with the presence of a human supervisor. People with disabilities have the same proclivity, however their reactions were more conservative. Next to safety, reliability, affordability, cost, driving pleasure and household size may also impact the uptake of AVs and shall be considered when designing relevant policies. Full article
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Article
Influence of Individual Perceptions on the Decision to Adopt Automated Bus Services
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6484; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166484 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Article
Connected Vehicle Technology for Improved Multimodal Winter Travel: Agency Perspective and a Conceptual Exploration
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5071; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125071 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 999
Abstract
Accurate and real-time traffic and road weather information acquired using connected vehicle (CV) technologies can help commuters perform safe and reliable trips. A nationwide survey of transit operation managers/supervisors was conducted to assess the suitability for CV transit applications in improving the safety [...] Read more.
Accurate and real-time traffic and road weather information acquired using connected vehicle (CV) technologies can help commuters perform safe and reliable trips. A nationwide survey of transit operation managers/supervisors was conducted to assess the suitability for CV transit applications in improving the safety and mobility during winter weather. Almost all respondents expressed positive attitudes towards the potential of CV applications in improving winter transit travel and voiced their concerns over the safety consequences of CV equipment failure, potential of increased driver distraction, and reliability of system performance in poor weather. A concept of operations of CV applications for multimodal winter travel was developed. In the conceptual framework, route-specific road weather and traffic flow data will be used by the transit managers/supervisors to obtain real-time operational status, forecast operational routes and schedules, and assess operational performance. Subsequently, multimodal commuters can receive the road-weather and traffic-flow information as well as transit routes and schedule information. Full article
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Article
An Experimental Approach to Understanding the Impacts of Monitoring Methods on Use Intentions for Autonomous Vehicle Services: Survey Evidence from Japan
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062157 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
Safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in many regions or countries require AV service providers to have the means to communicate with vehicles and the ability to stop them safely in case of emergencies. The transition to full deployment of AV services is [...] Read more.
Safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in many regions or countries require AV service providers to have the means to communicate with vehicles and the ability to stop them safely in case of emergencies. The transition to full deployment of AV services is dependent on more advanced monitoring methods. This study uses a survey of approximately 2000 residents of Japanese cities to investigate how monitoring methods affect their intentions to use these services. In particular, the survey is designed to understand how individuals react to unattended operations and remote monitoring in road passenger services including buses and taxis; the survey includes direct questions about intentions to use autonomous buses and taxis and a stated choice experiment based on the respondents’ preferences over their current mode of transportation and autonomous taxis. The results show that monitoring methods have mixed impacts. On one hand, monitoring could affect the general acceptance of AV services. The difference in the overall resistance to using these services is particularly large between the onboard human and remote monitoring options. Individuals tend to express stronger resistance to more advanced remote monitoring. On the other hand, the stated choice results show that the effects of these monitoring factors could be less significant in the actual settings of transportation mode choices; the effects of travel cost and time factors are likely to be more significant. These results suggest that when individuals consider AVs in the context of real-world decisions, their resistance to new technologies is diminished in comparison to their responses to abstract questions. Full article
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Review

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Review
Implications of Autonomous Vehicles for Accessibility and Transport Equity: A Framework Based on Literature
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084448 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 577
Abstract
Increasing accessibility and balancing its distribution across space and social groups are two fundamental goals to make transport more sustainable and equitable. In the next decades, autonomous vehicles (AVs) could significantly transform the transport system, influencing accessibility and transport equity. In particular, depending [...] Read more.
Increasing accessibility and balancing its distribution across space and social groups are two fundamental goals to make transport more sustainable and equitable. In the next decades, autonomous vehicles (AVs) could significantly transform the transport system, influencing accessibility and transport equity. In particular, depending on the assumed features of AVs (e.g., private or collective) and the considered spatial, social, and regulative context (e.g., rural or urban areas), impacts may be very different. Nevertheless, research in this field is still limited, and the relationship between AV assumptions and accessibility impacts is still partially unclear. This paper aims to provide a framework of the key and emerging aspects related to the implications of AVs for accessibility and transport equity. To set this framework, we perform an analysis of the scientific literature based on a conceptual model describing the implications of AVs for the distribution of accessibility across space and social groups. We recognize four main expected impacts of AVs on accessibility: (1) accessibility polarization, (2) accessibility sprawl, (3) exacerbation of social accessibility inequities, and (4) alleviation of social accessibility inequities. These impacts are described and analyzed in relation to the main AV assumptions expected to trigger them through different mechanisms. Based on the results, some recommendations for future studies intending to focus on the relation between AVs, accessibility, and transport equity are provided. Full article
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