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Rolf Moeckel: Abstract and background reading

Title image Rolf MoeckelSHORT ABSTACT: To explore the impact of autonomous vehicles on land use development, an integrated land use/transport model was used to model resulting changes in travel demand and household relocation. Assumptions were carefully reviewed in a series of sensitivity tests. While congestion increases substantially with autonomous vehicles, the model suggests little impact on land use patterns. Urban sprawl induced by a lower sensitivity to commute times is in part balanced out because urban dwellings become more attractive as autonomous vehicles can park themselves elsewhere. The presentation will introduce the methodology and present model results.

READ MORE: The advent of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is likely to change travel behavior, as car travel is expected to become more convenient, less expensive and accessible to more people. The impacts on land use development are largely unknown. On the one hand, households might decide to move farther away from their job, as commute time would become less burdensome. On the other hand, AVs that search for parking automatically reduce the need to have parking at the dwelling, which may entice some households to move to more central areas where parking traditionally was limited. The two effects of urban sprawl and reurbanization could happen at the same time. 

The agent-based land use/transport model SILO-MITO-MATSim was adapted to simulate the impact of AVs on household relocation. The revised model accounts for the fact that households who own conventional cars are sensitive to parking availability at their dwelling. As AVs could park themselves anywhere, this sensitivity to parking is reduced for households who own AVs. Distance to work, which serves as a hard constraint for household relocation with conventional cars, becomes less critical for households who use an AV to commute as they may perform other activities while commuting. The induced demand of travel by AV is represented and leads to an increase in congestion. As AVs do not operate on a large scale in reality, observed data are unavailable. Model assumptions are made explicit and their magnitude is tested carefully in a series of sensitivity tests. 

Several scenarios were designed to analyze the effects of reduced value of time for AV travel, parking restrictions and increase of congestion. The simulation shows that AVs will compete with transit and reduce transit ridership by three quarters. The average commute distance is expected to double, and the vehicle-kilometers traveled will increase by one third. The impact of AVs on the distribution of population, however, is marginal. The urban sprawl caused by less burdensome commuting is largely compensated by the increased attractiveness of core cities in the absence of parking issues for AVs.


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Moore, M.A., Lavieri, P.S., Dias, F.F., Bhat, C.R., 2020. On investigating the potential effects of private autonomous vehicle use on home/work relocations and commute times. Transportation Research Part C, 110: 166–185.