Who benefits from AVs? Equity implications of automated vehicles policies in full-scale prototype cities

Bat hen Nahmias-Biran, Jimi B. Oke, Nishant Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


While researchers have stressed the potential of automated vehicle (AV) technology in improving mobility and accessibility for a range of people, only a few attempts have been made to examine the impact of this new technology on different segments of the population in a realistic setting using high-fidelity simulation. To fill this gap, we analyze the equity implications of Automated Mobility-on-Demand (AMoD) in three full-scale prototype cities using SimMobility, a state-of-the-art activity- and agent-based framework. The prototype cities were developed based on two auto-dependent typologies, representing cities largely in the US/Canada, and a dense transit-oriented typology. We perform equity analyses at the individual and income-group level, in order to reveal the winners and losers from the introduction of AVs under two scenarios: (1) AMoD Intro, in which a low-cost AMoD service competes with mass transit, and (2) AMoD Transit Integration, where AMoD complements mass transit, via access/egress connectivity service to rapid transit stations. We evaluate the following outcomes: induced demand by age and income groups, mode share by income levels, individual kilometers traveled by different modes and income levels, and the spatial distribution of change in fare and accessibility. Outcomes are considered as equity-oriented if they reduce accessibility gaps, particularly among disadvantaged populations. Our results indicate that in large population-dense and transit-oriented cities, the most equity-oriented outcomes can be achieved, due to extensive mass transit usage, which depresses car usage and restricts induced demand for AMoD. Such cities provide greater opportunities for low-income groups. Specifically, the AMoD Transit Integration scenario results in the best outcomes and implies a new market share, as disadvantaged groups, such as children and low-income individuals, were able to travel more using the integrated AMoD-transit service. Nevertheless, in car-dependent cities, where accessibility gaps are much larger, AMoD Intro scenario performs better compared to AMoD Transit Integration, as it serves the less accessible population and significantly improves their opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-107
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Accessibility
  • Automated Mobility-on-Demand
  • Equity
  • Simulation


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