First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Autonomous vehicle (AV) ride-sharing services need to appeal to user motivations and overcome potential barriers or concerns, if they are to be successful, according to research conducted by Merge Greenwich. The study revealed that, on balance, ride-sharing presents a greater barrier-to-uptake than AV technology.
85% of respondents indicated a willingness to use an AV in the future, suggesting that the technology is the aspect of the service that excites them the most. 46% are willing to use a ride-sharing service for various types of journeys once or twice a week, which dropped to 26% when participants considered using a ride-sharing service three or more times a week.
The participants’ readiness to accept the technology was based on the assumption that regulators would require AV systems to be proven through testing before being deployed for commercial use and available to the public.
Findings also showed that 15% of participants feel deterred from adopting the service based on concerns relating to privacy and security. Sharing a journey in a small space implied different social rules compared to a tube carriage or bus.
Merge Greenwich recommends that these services should be designed to address user reservations on sharing a journey with strangers. Adopting public transport style seating and payment mechanisms may help to meet rider expectations.
Key decision-making criteria of cost, safety, convenience and sustainability will also need to be satisfied.
The consortium suggests that the service’s greatest opportunity is to target areas which are underserved by public transport, which could benefit the transport network by reducing congestion and emissions. Merge Greenwich also proposes that the government should take a leading role in educating all road users on AVs. In addition, all passengers will need to have the ability to contact the service provider while other riders will require an onboard steward that could also help with luggage and accessibility.
A full copy of the report is available here.