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Automated Vehicles in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Authors: Hong Yun (Eva) Shi, Niranjan Rajevan, & Matthias Sweet

Despite previous Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area research on automated vehicles, the ecosystem of service providers, available technologies, and consumer attitudes are in rapid flux. Understanding both how attitudes regarding AVs are changing and how these changes may affect broader policy objectives is critical towards preparing for this potential disruption. This study seeks to contribute towards filling the gap in understanding about the public’s perceptions of expected benefits and consequences of automated vehicles, the potential changes in utility and travel behaviour after the adoption of automated vehicles. Moreover, it intends to understand how automated vehicles will related to the priorities of public policy. By exploring consumer interests in AVs in the GTHA, this research will act as a basis for further discussion on harnessing positive opportunities of AVs while limiting potential negative consequences.

Key Findings:

1. Most consumers are still learning about AV technology and ongoing AV planning initiatives.

2. Largely due to an uncertain value proposition and evolving understanding about the technology, most consumers are reluctant to commit to using AVs.

3. When considering the possible future role of automated vehicles, respondents’ three most emphasized potential policy objectives were: better road safety, unobstructed movement of emergency vehicles, and better traffic management. As such understanding whether AVs support or undermine these objectives is important for public policy.