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No longer in the driver’s seat: How do affective motivations impact consumer interest in automated vehicles?

Author

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  • Matthias N. Sweet

    (Ryerson University)

  • Kailey Laidlaw

    (British Columbia Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing)

Abstract

Emerging advancements in automated vehicles may dramatically change how transportation system users engage cars as symbols and tools to exert control over their lives, time use, and activity spaces. Transportation technologies do not only serve users. They can also elicit affective reactions and make users experience feelings, including anxiety, freedom, health, and the sense of being in control of different facets of their lives. By changing the role of humans in actively moving through urban environments, fully-automated vehicles could impact users’ perceived control over their environments and their use of cities. To better understand the use and implications of automated vehicles, this study explores whether affective motivations for automobile ownership are likely to change in a potential future of fully-automated vehicles. This study focuses on AV ownership conditions using a consumer survey of 3201 residents of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to estimate consumer interest in regularly using and purchasing privately-owned AVs using a combination of revealed preference (vehicle ownership) and stated preference (AV interest) data. Structural equation models are estimated to explore whether the affective motivations for vehicle ownership are likely to be different than the affective motivations for using or adopting an automated vehicle. Findings indicate that the role of affective motivations are likely to be different for vehicle ownership than for interest in AV use and adoption. While a car freedom and control affective motivation is a strong predictor of current household vehicle ownership, it is negatively associated with AV interest and adoption. The affective motivation related to being a daring achiever is a strong predictor of AV interest and adoption, but it is unrelated with current vehicle ownership levels. Finally, individual control over activities and travel is negatively associated with current vehicle ownership levels, but it is unrelated with AV interest and adoption. Findings suggest significant differences between individuals’ motivations for vehicle ownership and AV adoption and use. Nevertheless, these findings should be interpreted cautiously, as data related to interest in AV technology remains in the domain of stated preference data, rather than revealed preferences, which are subject to broader household decision-making processes. As such, if transportation planning and forecasting concentrate only on instrumental factors and ignore changes in affective motivations, forecasts may miss key components of behavioral change and may miss the balance of who benefits (or loses) from this new technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias N. Sweet & Kailey Laidlaw, 2020. "No longer in the driver’s seat: How do affective motivations impact consumer interest in automated vehicles?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 47(5), pages 2601-2634, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:47:y:2020:i:5:d:10.1007_s11116-019-10035-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s11116-019-10035-5
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