Test-riding the driverless bus: Determinants of satisfaction and reuse intention in eight test-track locations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - bus, technology - intelligent transport systems, ridership - behaviour, ridership - perceptions, planning - surveys, planning - safety/accidents


Autonomous vehicles, Driverless bus, Reuse intention, SEM-MIMIC, Shared autonomous vehicle, Satisfaction


The introduction of shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) presents a wide range of challenges and uncertainties regarding their general acceptability. Hence, it is essential that transit managers have a good understanding of passenger satisfaction and of their behavioural intentions after experiencing a driverless vehicle trip. To this end, 1,062 face-to-face surveys were conducted following driverless bus trials in eight Catalan (Spain) municipalities. Using a three-step SEM-MIMIC ordinal Probit approach, we seek to identify the heterogeneity in user perceptions and reuse intentions, a novelty in SAV literature. Specifically, we analyse the users’ behavioural intention to repeat a journey without transit support personnel on the bus and when entirely alone, and how willing they are to substitute their regular bus service with a driverless one. Our results confirm that critical incidents affect user satisfaction concerning safety, the latter constituting one of the most critical factors impacting user reuse intention and overall satisfaction. The test-track scenario also affects reuse intention, with university campuses and parks recording better outcomes than city centres and pedestrianized zones. In contrast to outcomes reported for conventional bus systems, higher socioeconomic status is associated with higher levels of satisfaction with driverless vehicles and a stronger reuse intention. Female users are reluctant to ride on driverless buses alone; however, when they are not regular bus users, they express a reluctance to board SAV both without transit support personnel and alone. In high-income municipalities, we find a positive impact on reuse intention. Finally, a higher degree of satisfaction with the regular bus system is positively linked with a better perceived driverless bus experience. For implementation purposes, location, critical incidents, safety, regular bus user satisfaction, technology affinity, and the income level of the municipalities are all aspects that need to be factored-in when designing an adoption strategy.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transportation Research Part A Home Page: