The three revolutions in transportation — shared mobility, electrification and autonomous vehicles — will fundamentally change transportation around the world. Rigorous research and impartial policy analysis are urgently needed to understand the impacts of these transportation revolutions, and to guide industry investments and government decision-making. This newly-established program was launched by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) in November 2016 to address the growing need for research to assist and inform government and industry. The program leverages the 25 years of ITS-Davis pioneering interdisciplinary research on travel behavior, alternative vehicles and fuels, and land use, as well as a strong commitment for outcome-oriented, policy-relevant research.
This study helps understand how the anticipated emergence of autonomous vehicles will affect various aspects of society and transportation, including travel demand, vehicle miles traveled, energy consumption, and emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The study begins with a literature review on connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology for light-duty vehicles, the factors likely to affect CAV adoption, expected impacts of CAVs, and approaches to modeling these impacts. The study then uses a set of modifications in the California Statewide Travel Demand Model (CSTDM) to simulate the following scenarios for the deployment of passenger light-duty CAVs in California by 2050: (0) Baseline (no automation); (1) Private CAV; (2) Private CAV + Pricing; (3) Private CAV + Zero emission vehicles (ZEV); (4) Shared CAV; (5) Shared CAV + Pricing; (6) Shared CAV + ZEV. The modified CSTDM is used to forecast travel demand and mode share for each scenario, and this output is used in combination with the emission factors from the EMission FACtor model (EMFAC) and Vision model to calculate energy consumption and criteria pollutant emissions. The modeling results indicate that the mode shares of public transit and in-state air travel will likely sharply decrease, while total vehicle miles traveled and emissions will likely increase, due to the relative convenience of CAVs. The study also reveals limitations in models like the CSTDM that primarily use sociodemographic factors and job/residence location as inputs for the simulation of activity participation and tour patterns, without accounting for some of the disruptive effects of CAVs. The study results also show that total vehicle miles traveled and vehicle hours traveled could be substantially impacted by a modification in future auto travel costs. This means that the eventual implementation of pricing strategies and congestion pricing policies, together with policies that support the deployment of shared and electric CAVs, could help curb tailpipe pollutant emissions in future scenarios, though they may not be able to completely offset the increases in travel demand and road congestion that might result from CAV deployment. Such policies should be considered to counteract and mitigate some of the undesirable impacts of CAVs on society and on the environment.
Investigating the Temporary and Longer-term Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mobility in California
This study investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed people’s activity-travel patterns, using datasets collected through three waves of surveys in spring 2020, fall 2020, and summer 2021. With this dataset, it was possible to investigate evolving behavioral choices and preferences among respondents at different timepoints: fall 2019 (recollection of the past), spring 2020, fall 2020, summer 2021, and summer 2022 (future expectations). The study highlighted a large shift among California workers from physical commuting to working remotely in 2020, which was followed by a transition towards hybrid work by summer 2021. The shift to remote work and hybrid work varied considerably across population subgroups, and was most popular among higher-income, better-educated individuals, and urban residents. In terms of household vehicle ownership change, those tech-savvy and variety-seeking individuals were more likely to increase or replace household vehicles, while those who are pro-environment and pro-active are less likely to do so. COVID health concerns show concurrent effects of encouraging the adoption of a more pro-active lifestyle during the pandemic, but also leading to an increased desire to own vehicles in the future. Regarding shopping patterns, the number of respondents who shop online at least once per week increased nearly five-fold between fall 2019 and spring 2020, but such magnitude somewhat diminished by fall 2020. In general, the pandemic has generated a mix of short-lived temporary changes and potential longer-term impacts. The study provides various strategies to help increase transportation and social equity among various population groups as the communities recover from the pandemic.
Challenges Facing People with Disabilities in Private Vehicular Transportation in the United States of America
The majority of people with disabilities in the United States of America (US) are licensed drivers or use transportation modes based on private vehicles. Despite this, people with disabilities, including licensed drivers, still often encounter difficulties that limit their overall mobility and quality of life. Research about the problems with private vehicular modes facing people with disabilities remains sparse. Existing research suggests that some disabilities make driving impossible, while poverty often associated with disability makes owning and modifying vehicles to fit users’ needs unaffordable. People with disabilities who cannot drive or cannot afford to own a vehicle may use rental cars or carsharing services, get rides from friends or family, or use ridehailing services or taxis, but car-oriented land use patterns and the higher costs of modified vehicles together may compromise the availability of these modes for people with disabilities. Better understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face with these modes and of associated land use issues is critical for new modes & policies to sustainably improve the mobility of people with disabilities.
Related Research Centers & Groups
- China Center for Energy and Transportation
- National Center for Sustainable Transportation
- Energy Futures Research Center
- European Transport and Energy Research Centre
- Hydrogen Pathways Program
- Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy
- Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center
- Sustainable Freight Research Center
- Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)
- Sustainable Transportation Center
- University of California Pavement Research Center
- Urban Land Use and Transportation Center
- UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies