Ridesharing, Active Travel Behavior, and Personal Health: Implications for Shared Autonomous Vehicles
Konstantina “Nadia” Gkritza, Professor of Civil and Agricultural and Biological Engineering – Purdue University
Director of Sustainable Transportation Systems Research Group (STSRG) – Purdue University
Campus Director – NSF ASPIRE Engineering Research Center
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been argued to have both positive and negative impacts on public health. Most important benefits relate to a reduction of injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes, and decrease in pollutant emissions. On the other hand, AVs can limit opportunities for daily activity and associated health benefits. Additionally, if the adoption of this technology is not properly planned, it could likely lead to increases in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) as AVs may provide mobility for those too young to drive, the elderly and the disabled. This would result in both reduced physical activity and increased air pollution, leading to non-communicable diseases, which are responsible for two-third of all deaths globally. Although there has been much research on the safety impacts of AVs, the potential implications of AVs on active travel behavior and personal health outcomes such as physical activity and obesity rates are not well understood to date. This project will assess the relationship between ridesharing (as a proxy for shared travel behavior), and active travel behavior (often measured as the number of trips made by walking or biking), and identify personal health-related outcomes expected due to the adoption of shared AVs (SAVs). Strategies to better capitalize the benefits and mitigate the adverse impacts that this technology could bring will be also offered.
Research Thrust(s): Policy & Planning
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