Solving the User Optimum Privately Owned Automated Vehicles Assignment Problem (UO-POAVAP): A model to explore the impacts of self-driving vehicles on urban mobility

Interest in vehicle automation has been growing in recent years, especially with the very visible Google car project. Although full automation is not yet a reality there has been significant research on the impacts of self-driving vehicles on traffic flows, mainly on interurban roads. However, little attention has been given to what could happen to urban mobility when all vehicles are automated. In this paper the authors propose a new method to study how replacing privately owned conventional vehicles with automated ones affects traffic delays and parking demand in a city. The model solves what the authors designate as the User Optimum Privately Owned Automated Vehicles Assignment Problem (UO-POAVAP), which dynamically assigns family trips in their automated vehicles in an urban road network from a user equilibrium perspective where, in equilibrium, households with similar trips should have similar transport costs. Automation allows a vehicle to travel without passengers to satisfy multiple household trips and, if needed, to park itself in any of the network nodes to benefit from lower parking charges. Nonetheless, the empty trips can also represent added congestion in the network. The model was applied to a case study based on the city of Delft, the Netherlands. Several experiments were done, comparing scenarios where parking policies and value of travel time (VTT) are changed. The model shows good equilibrium convergence with a small difference between the general costs of traveling for similar families. The authors were able to conclude that vehicle automation reduces generalized transport costs, satisfies more trips by car and is associated with increased traffic congestion because empty vehicles have to be relocated. It is possible for a city to charge for all street parking and create free central parking lots that will keep total transport costs the same, or reduce them. However, this will add to congestion as traffic competes to access those central nodes. In a scenario where a lower VTT is experienced by the travelers, because of the added comfort of vehicle automation, the car mode share increases. Nevertheless this may help to reduce traffic congestion because some vehicles will reroute to satisfy trips which previously were not cost efficient to be done by car. Placing the free parking in the outskirts is less attractive due to the extra kilometers but with a lower VTT the same private vehicle demand would be attended with the advantage of freeing space in the city center.


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  • Accession Number: 01598167
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2016 12:14PM