OCT 23, 2019 2:39 PM PDT

How driverless cars can increasce traffic congestion

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have predicted that driverless car technology will increase traffic congestion in the upcoming decades. The prediction is based on psychology which discusses the driver attitudes towards the technology and the preference not to share rides.

"Autonomous or driverless vehicles are likely to have profound effects on cities. Being able to understand their impact will help to shape how our communities respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead," says study co-author Dr. Raul Barreto, from the University of Adelaide's School of Economics. "The key factors affecting the transition to autonomous vehicles are commuter attitudes to car ownership and wanting to drive themselves, rather than have technology do it for them, as well as the price of new technology, and consumer attitudes to car sharing.

Researchers examined more than 500 commuters in the City of Adelaide in Australia. Findings of the multidisciplinary study were published in the journal Urban Policy and Research and discusses commuter views on autonomous vehicles versus conventional vehicles.

"Our findings show that Adelaide has the potential to significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and improve traffic flows, however these benefits may not be achieved in the near to medium term for many reasons," Dr Barreto says. "Our evidence suggests that as riders switch to autonomous vehicles, there will be an adverse impact on public transport. With most commuters not interested in ride sharing, this could increase peak period vehicle flows, which is likely to increase traffic congestion over the next 30 years or so.”

"Under both scenarios we tested, the number of vehicles overall will eventually drop. However, total vehicle trips may increase, and some of the predicted benefits of autonomous vehicles may not eventuate until a lengthy transition period is complete.”

"Our findings have policy implications for how the transition to autonomous vehicles is managed, not just within the City of Adelaide but for other cities around the world," Dr Barreto says.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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