A Discrete Choice Model to Evaluate the Willingness to Use Autonomous Vehicles

Since technology has become a fundamental part of our lives, it is becoming increasingly common to use devices that have a wide range of functions, ranging from switching on the lights to waking us up by making the house smell like coffee. Would this extreme enthusiasm for technology prevail even when it comes to entrusting on-board computers with our existence? In the last decade, it is not rare to hear about autonomous vehicles, driverless cars capable of managing multiple types of road environments with little or no human intervention. This inevitably begs the question of how much the feeling of not having control of the means in question affects people's perception of putting human lives on the line. Unlike other technologies like smartphones or smart devices for home management, which are being tested if only to satisfy the user's curiosity, a vehicle of this nature can, in fact, be seen as frightening. There are factors like media influence, the lack of basic knowledge regarding the technologies based on the correct operation of AV, algorithm aversion, and other ethical and social issues that can potentially compromise the received sense of safety with regard to the cars of the future. This paper aims to investigate the variables that might persuade individuals to forsake the traditional means of transportation in favour of autonomous ones. The principal objective of the discussion is an economic evaluation of the users’ reluctance to use AV, drafted in €. The study has been conducted in Campania, a region in South Italy, in collaboration with Consorzio Unico Campania, to fulfil the intention mentioned above. Quantitative data has been collected and analysed to define people's willingness to accept and therefore include AV in the existing urban fabric. Before focusing on the methodological contents, it is preferable to consider the psychological sphere. Therefore, it was hypothesised, as a matter of principle, that the youngest individuals and the ones more fascinated with the idea of a technologically advanced world are more likely to experience/embrace AV. The first step involved data collection and statistical analysis. Afterwards, the same data was used for carrying out a model that would provide the desired results. The investigation was conducted at a regional level, involving 1400 users, all of which were regular Public Transport travellers. Owing to the obtained database, the implementation and subsequent calibration of a binomial discrete choice model were made possible, with the two alternatives being to either remain true to the traditional means of transportation or shift towards the new and more advanced technology. Moreover, time and costs also constituted key variables taken into account when conducting the study. Multiple models were implemented focusing on consumers’ socio-economic characteristics and habits that play a key role in the decision-making process. The aforementioned models are: • Total model: aimed at defining the VoT and the Value of reluctance for all the respondents • 18-40y model: replies of people belonging to this age range have been analysed to find the outcome values • Over 40y model: implemented for the estimation of desired parameters within the specified age group • On-board technology users: the obtained replies from everyone who has claimed to frequently use the actual on-board equipment (e.g. Cruise Control) allowed for the model specification • On-board technology non-users: based on the choices of people that do not tend to use the technological tools built in their car. The obtained results, regarding the young people and the innovator class, confirm the initial theory. It is true that the vast majority of the interviewed population is sceptical about the idea of entrusting their own lives to a machine, whose "brain" is a microprocessor installed on-board. On the other hand, there is a younger generation looking forward to living in a technologically advanced world, which doubtlessly includes AV.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01765992
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 4 2021 12:18PM