Autonomous Taxi Operations: Market Structure, Competitive Dynamics and Regulatory Implications

Autonomous taxis hold disruptive potential for urban transportation systems. Researchers and transportation planners seek to anticipate their impact with simulation studies. One frequent assumption is a monopolistic dispatcher. Seeking to verify this assumption, the authors conduct a prospective, qualitative analysis of the market structure grounded in microeconomics and industrial organization. They find that significant economies of scale might propel international consolidation to few autonomous taxi operators with significant market power, bringing new competition to previously local urban transportation markets. While acknowledging the efficiency of a monopoly or oligopoly of few, it naturally causes regulatory concerns. The authors discuss discriminatory pricing, geographic service restrictions and safety precautions of autonomous taxi operators and propose regulatory remedies. Their findings are of interest to academia, as they confirm the likelihood of the original assumption, however question simultaneous pricing at or near marginal costs without suitable regulation. Transportation planners and regulating authorities might use them to plan the role of public transportation organizations in the provision of autonomous taxis, their integration into the existing public transportation system and to anticipate suitable regulation to avoid regulatory voids similar to those ride-sourcing companies have been operating in.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABE30 Standing Committee on Transportation Issues in Major Cities. Alternate title: Autonomous Taxi Operations: Market Structure, Competitive Dynamics, and Regulatory Implications.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Reck, Daniel J
    • Axhausen, Kay W
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 18p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698327
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-01108
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:52AM