An agent-based model for assessing the financial viability of autonomous mobility on-demand systems used as first and last-mile of public transport trips: A case-study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - demand responsive transit, ridership - demand, ridership - modelling, ridership - behaviour, policy - sustainable, planning - methods


Automated vehicles, First and last mile, Agent-based model, Public transport


The continuing urbanization and corresponding increase in transport demand are putting pressure on the accessibility, safety, sustainability, livability, and efficiency of urbanized regions. Public transport is regarded as a sustainable mode of transport for these regions and therefore transport policies aim to increase its attractiveness. However, public transport is facing last-mile connectivity problems. The application of Autonomous Mobility on-Demand (AMoD) as a feeder service for public transport hubs can potentially improve the first and last-mile trip leg which increases the attractivity of public transport. However, will such a system be financially viable when applied in an urban area? and what kind of operation will lead to the highest system performance? In this research, this question is addressed by proposing a method that connects macro transport modeling and agent-based modeling (ABM). An existing gravity-based travel demand estimation model built in a macro simulation tool is used to predict passenger demand across all the OD pairs of a city. For those OD pairs that can use the AMoD as first /last mile this is modeled using an agent-based rationale to be able to simulate the behavior of passengers and vehicles within that specific area of the city. The simulation model is applied to the case study area of the south of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, where metro Station Zuidplein and the rail Station Lombardijen function as two AMoD hubs. Using the case study, the impact of relocation, ridesharing, and charging strategy is assessed in regards to financial viability. Among other insights, results show that the AMoD service leads to a profit on a typical business day for the operating companies despite the high-quality level of the service (very low average waiting time for a vehicle). If this particular system would not consist of automated vehicles and one would have to pay a salary to drivers, it would not be possible to make a profit on a typical business day. Moreover, results show that activating dynamic ridesharing and using wireless fast chargers at the stations results in the most financially viable operation. Activating automatic relocations results in the most costly operation.


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


Research in Transportation Business & Management Home Page: