Distinguished Lecture Series with Chandra Bhat, Ph.D., P.E.
Speaker(s): Chandra Bhat, Ph.D., P.E., University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Joe J. King Endowed Professor — The University of Texas at Austin
Presentation Title: Autonomous Vehicle Impacts on Travel-Based Activity and Activity-Based Travel
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 10th | 2:00 PM ET
Professional Development Hours (PDH): 1
Abstract: This presentation undertakes a deep dive into the kinds of activities that individuals are likely to pursue when freed from the task of driving in the future transportation landscape of fully automated vehicles (AVs). Dr. Bhat’s study indicates that “productive use of time” is not necessarily always tied with activities, such as work and study; rather, being able to partake in relatively “chill” activities (such as sleeping, relaxing, and gazing out the window) is also considered as good use of time. This suggests caution in the interpretation of what are traditionally referred to as “productive” activities, and also, a need for scholarly restraint in the use of the label “multi-tasking” to exclusively refer to non-passive activities.
The team suggest that the field move away from subjective/ambiguous terms such as multitasking and “productive” activities, and adopt the more neutral label of “travel-based activity”. The results also support the notion that the option of opening up travel to pursue work/study activities may itself be engendering stress in individuals; that is, as the option to pursue “non-chill” activities increases in an AV environment, that itself may produce angst in individuals and lead to less enjoyment in travel. This also highlights a need to examine travel-based activities in the broader context of emotional well-being and quality of life. Indeed, AVs may further erode into our time of tuning-out from the “chatter” of routine life and make it less possible to partake in “calm and mindless” activities. Finally, the study cautions against the use of simple and uniform (across individuals) value of travel time savings (VTTS) factor modifications to study AV impacts on travel, and emphasizes the need to examine, and recognize the variation across individuals in, the types of activities pursued during travel.
Dr. Chandra R. Bhat is an expert in the area of transportation and urban policy design, with far reaching implications for public health, energy dependence, greenhouse gas emissions, and societal quality of life. Methodologically, he has been a pioneer in the formulation and use of statistical and econometric methods to analyze human choice behavior. His current research includes the social and environmental aspects of transportation, planning implications of connected and automated smart transportation systems (CASTS), e-commerce and information and communication technology (ICT) impacts on the activity and mobility behaviors of consumer and upstream supply chain providers, and data science and predictive analytics. He is a recipient of many awards, including the 2017 Council of University Transportation Center (CUTC) Lifetime Achievement Award in Transportation Research and Education, the 2015 American Association of Civil Engineering’s (ASCE’s) Frank Masters Award, and the 2013 German Humboldt Award. He was listed in 2017 as one of the top ten transportation thought leaders in academia by the Eno Foundation. He is a top-cited transportation engineering researcher. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Research – Part B.