Will leisure trips be more affected than work trips by autonomous technology? Modelling self-driving public transport and cars in Stockholm, Sweden

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, ridership - demand, ridership - modelling, technology - intelligent transport systems


Autonomous vehicle, Trip purpose, Mode choice, Travel demand modelling, Large-scale simulation


Self-driving technology may lead to a paradigm shift for the transport industry with shared cars available to every-one. However, this vision has increasingly been challenged as too optimistic and unsubstantiated. In this study we explore societal impacts of using this technology for both cars and public transport and investigate differences depending on geography and trip purpose. Four scenarios were designed through workshops with 130 transport experts, modelled using a conventional four-step model for Stockholm, Sweden and evaluated in terms of changes to mode choice, number of trips and person kilometres.

We find larger increases for non-commuting trips, i.e. service and leisure trips, than for commuting trips, questioning the view of the ‘productive work trip’ as self-driving technology’s main impact on society. As these trips are primarily made outside of rush hours, this may lead to a changed transport system. Geographic differences are substantial and heavily dependent on the cost model for car alternatives, even indicating a reduction in car travel in rural areas if private ownership would be replaced by shared cars. Furthermore, walking and cycling levels decreased in all scenarios while enhancing public transport using self-driving technology had a limited impact on ridership.

These results show that the impacts of self-driving technology may have varied societal impacts even within a region and may lead to increased car travel, especially off-peak. These conclusions stress the need for policies that are sensitive to both geography and time.


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


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