Clusters of potential autonomous vehicles users according to propensity to use individual versus shared vehicles

JournalTransport Policy
AuthorsSimone Pettigrew, Liyuwork Dana, Richard Norman
PublishedApril 2019
Number of Pages13-20

As the widespread use of autonomous vehicles (AVs) becomes increasingly likely, an important consideration is the extent to which individuals prefer either private ownership or shared use modes. Both modes are currently evolving, each with distinct but overlapping challenges.

Understanding the preferences of different population segments can provide insights into where to focus initial efforts to attract individuals into the market, especially in terms of promoting the uptake of shared AVs to optimise the potential positive outcomes of AVs (e.g., crash reduction) while reducing possible negative outcomes (e.g., increased congestion).

The results from a sample of 1,345 Australians aged 16+ years (97% of whom were drivers) were analysed using latent profile analysis. Five discrete classes were identified on the basis of their (i) self-reported knowledge of AVs; (ii) perceptions of the positive and negative outcomes of AVs; and (iii) AV usage intentions. The classes were titled Non-adopters (29% of the sample), Ride-sharing (20%), AV ambivalent (19%), Likely adopters (17%), and First movers (14%).

The results indicate the types of individuals who may be most likely to be early adopters and the implications for public policies designed to encourage socially optimal forms of adoption.

Key findings:

  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are expected to become widely adopted around the world.
  • Shared AVs will be more socially beneficial than privately owned AVs.
  • Australians have low levels of knowledge of AVs and moderate attitudes to their use.
  • Five discrete groups of potential users were identified with differing attributes.
  • Shared AVs appear to be more popular, which is a promising social trend.