A new study has found that while Australians may be warming to autonomous vehicles as a concept, they’re unlikely to share them with other travellers – potentially making congestion worse than the status quo.
The Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS), conducted by the University of Sydney Business School, found that one in four participants would buy a driverless vehicle for family use, though only one-third of these people would lease their cars to other travellers when they aren’t in use.
Additionally, 40 per cent said they would be likely to use their vehicles more if they were autonomous, as travelling would become easier, while more than 30 per cent said they would rather use their car than take public transport.
Professor David Hensher, director of the school’s Institute of Transport and Logistic Studies, said the results indicate that driverless cars could worsen congestion on Australian roads – rather than improve it, as previously predicted by various transport experts.
“The survey suggests a strong uptake which is encouraging at this stage in the debate on the future of driverless vehicles, however the real challenge is getting society to become more sharing either by allowing others to use their cars or through a third party mobility plan,” he said.
“Pundits promoting the virtues of driverless cars, were suggesting that they would contribute to a significant reduction in traffic congestion. Our findings appear contrary to that view.”
“We now need to contemplate how society more broadly and government might respond through new laws ensuring that disruptive transport technologies serve the public while managing their negative impacts through various measures including a private car use levy,” he said.
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