Autonomous vehicle impacts on travel-based activity and activity-based travel

Dannemiller, Katherine A.
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This paper undertakes a deep dive into the kinds of activities that individuals are likely to pursue when freed from the task of driving in the fully automated vehicle (AV) era. We refer to such activities as travel-based activities (TBAs) and examine the potential effects of TBA participation on activity-based travel (ABT). Two aggregate ABT characteristics are considered: additional local area travel (ALT) and additional long distance travel (ALDT). TBAs and the two ABTs are jointly modeled in a parsimonious fashion using psycho-social latent constructs, individual characteristics, and built environment (BE) attributes. Our study indicates that “productive use of time” is not necessarily always tied with activities such as work and study; rather, being able to partake in relatively chill activities (such as sleeping, relaxing, and gazing out the window) is also considered as good use of time. This suggests caution in the interpretation of what are traditionally referred to as “productive” activities and also a need for scholarly restraint in the use of the label “multi-tasking” to exclusively refer to non-passive activities. We suggest that the field move away from subjective/ambiguous terms such as multitasking and “productive” activities, and adopt the more neutral label of “travel-based activity”. The results also support the notion that the option of opening up travel to pursue work/study activities may itself be engendering stress in individuals; that is, as the option to pursue “non-chill” activities increases in an AV environment, that itself may produce angst in individuals and lead to less enjoyment in travel. This also highlights a need to examine TBAs in the broader context of emotional well-being and quality of life. Indeed, AVs may further erode into our time of tuning-out from the “chatter” of routine life and make it less possible to partake in “calm and mindless” activities. Finally, our study cautions against the use of simple and uniform (across individuals) value of travel time savings (VTTS) factor modifications to study AV impacts on ABT