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Describing the users: Understanding adoption of and interest in shared, electrified, and automated transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area


Emerging technologies and services stand poised to transform the transportation system, with large implications for energy use and mobility. The degree and speed of these impacts depend largely on who adopts these innovations and how quickly. Leveraging data from a novel survey of San Francisco Bay Area residents, we analyze adoption patterns for shared mobility, electrified vehicle technologies, and vehicle automation. We find that ride-hailing and adaptive cruise control have penetrated the market more extensively than have electrified vehicles or car-sharing services. Over half of respondents have adopted or expressed interest in adopting all levels of vehicle automation. Overall, there is substantial potential for market growth for the technologies and services we analyzed. Using county fixed effects regressions, we investigate which individual and location-level factors correlate to adoption and interest. We find that, although higher-income people are disproportionately represented among current adopters of most new technologies and services, low- to middle-income people are just as likely to have adopted pooled ride-hailing. Younger generations have high interest in automated and electrified vehicles relative to their current adoption of these technologies, suggesting that young people could contribute substantially to future market growth—as they are doing for ride-hailing. We find no evidence that longer commutes present a barrier to plug-in electric vehicle adoption. Finally, women are less likely than men to adopt and/or be interested in adopting most new transportation technologies, with the exception of ride-hailing; designing or marketing technologies with women's preferences in mind could contribute to future market expansion.

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