A theoretical investigation of user acceptance of autonomous public transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, infrastructure - vehicle, technology - intelligent transport systems, ridership - perceptions, planning - methods, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - environmental impact, planning - surveys, economics - benefits


Autonomous vehicles, Public transport, Automation, Acceptance, Determinants


Achieving a critical mass in the acceptance of fully autonomous public transport (APT) is crucial for a society to effectively realise APT’s intended environmental, social and economic benefits. The current study analyses the determinants contributing to user acceptance of APT through three theoretical lenses, namely, Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), Perceived Value Theory and Social Exchange Theory. Survey data were collected from 476 commuters in Beijing, China. The results reveal that the five dimensions of UTAUT (i.e. performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions and hedonic motivation) have positive influence on users’ value perception of APT. Consequently, users’ value perception of APT exerts both direct and indirect influences on users’ acceptance of APT via trust. A key contribution of this study is the combination and synthesis of several complementary behavioural theories to explain user acceptance of autonomous vehicles. In addition, the results offer important implications for transport policymakers and operators, in particular, pertaining to areas on resource allocation, marketing, communication and education to improve user acceptance of APT.


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