Why would people want to travel more with automated cars?

Esko Lehtonen (Corresponding Author), Fanny Malin, Tyron Louw, Yee Mun Lee, Teemu Itkonen, Satu Innamaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The use of automated vehicles (AVs) may enable drivers to focus on non-driving related activities while travelling and reduce the unwanted efforts of the driving task. This is expected to make using a car more attractive, or at least less unpleasant compared to manually driven vehicles. Consequently, the number and length of car trips may increase. The aim of this study was to identify the main contributors to travelling more by AV.

We analysed the L3Pilot project’s pilot site questionnaire data from 359 respondents who had ridden in a conditionally automated car (SAE level 3) either as a driver or as a passenger. The questionnaire queried the respondents’ user experience with the automated driving function, current barriers of travelling by car, previous experience with advanced driving assistance systems, and general priorities in travelling. The answers to these questions were used to predict willingness to travel more or longer trips by AV, and to use AVs on currently undertaken trips. The most predictive subset of variables was identified using Bayesian cumulative ordinal regression with a shrinkage prior (regularised horseshoe).

The current study found that conditionally automated cars have a substantial potential to increase travelling by car once they become available. Willingness to perform leisure activities during automated driving, experienced usefulness of the system, and unmet travel needs, which AVs could address by making travelling easier, were the main contributors to expecting to travel more by AV. For using AVs on current trips, leisure activities, trust in AVs, satisfaction with the system, and traffic jams as barriers to current car use were important contributors. In other words, perceived usefulness motivated travelling more by AV and using AVs on current trips, but also other factors were important for using them on current trips. This suggests that one way to limit the growth of traffic with private AVs could be to address currently unmet travel needs with alternative, more sustainable travel modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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