How, and for whom, will activity patterns be modified by self-driving cars? Expectations from the state of Georgia

Many studies have explored travelers’ perceptions of self-driving cars (or autonomous vehicles, AVs) and their potential impacts. However, medium-term modifications in activity patterns (such as increasing trip frequencies and changing destinations) have been less explored. Using 2017–2018 survey data collected in the US state of Georgia, this paper (1) measures (at a general level) how people expect their activity patterns to change in a hypothetical all-AV era; (2) identifies population segments having similar profiles of expected changes; and (3) further profiles each segment on the basis of attitudinal, sociodemographic, and geographic characteristics. In the survey, respondents were asked to express their expectations regarding 16 potential activity modifications induced by AVs. The authors first conducted an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to reduce the dimensionality of the activity-change vector characterizing each individual, and estimated non-mean-centered (NMC) factor scores (which have been rarely used in applied psychology). The EFA solution identified four dimensions of activity change: distance, time flexibility, frequency, and long distance/leisure. Next, the authors clustered Georgians with respect to these four-dimensional expectation vectors. The cluster solution uncovered six segments: no change, change unlikely, more leisure/long distance, longer trips, more travel, and time flexibility & more leisure/long distance. Using NMC factor scores identified considerably more inertia with respect to expectations for change than would have been apparent from the usual mean-centered scores. Finally, the various segments exhibit distinctive demographics and general attitudes. For example, those in the more leisure/long distance cluster tend to be higher income and are more likely to be Atlanta-region residents compared to other clusters, while those in the no change and change unlikely clusters tend to be older and are more likely to be rural residents.


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  • Accession Number: 01737467
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2020 3:55PM