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11-11-2019 | Issue 6/2019

Transportation 6/2019

Effects of neighborhood environments on perceived risk of self-driving: evidence from the 2015 and 2017 Puget Sound Travel Surveys

Journal:
Transportation > Issue 6/2019
Authors:
Kailai Wang, Gulsah Akar
Important notes
Special issue for notable papers presented at the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting.

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Abstract

Autonomous vehicles (AVs), with an expectation of improving road safety, are closer to becoming a reality. A large number of people are still concerned about how AVs would operate in real-life driving environments. The present paper investigates the factors that affect people’s views of the interactions between AVs and other road users based on a large sample from the 2015 and 2017 Puget Sound Travel Surveys. We specifically highlight the effects of the neighborhood environment and road infrastructure. We estimate a generalized ordered logit model to demonstrate the extent to which certain neighborhood environment and road infrastructure features affect individuals’ safety perceptions of AVs, controlling for demographics, daily travel patterns, and general interest in riding AVs. The results reveal that designated bicycle facilities are positively associated with individuals’ safety perceptions related to AVs. We find that residents from neighborhoods with more pedestrian facilities are more likely to express higher levels of concern on AVs’ capabilities to react to the environment. Our results also suggest that people living in mixed-use neighborhoods are more confident in sharing the road with AVs. The findings provide useful implications for effective policy interventions and infrastructure provisions that may affect the market penetration rates of AVs while keeping up the standards for other road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians.

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