Title: Driverless vehicles: impacts on traffic flows
Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 17th January 2017
Date published/launched: January 2017
The study suggests that driverless cars offer major potential benefits when the proportion of them on the road is higher than the proportion of older, more traditional vehicles.
The study examined different scenarios including the level of automation, the proportion of vehicles equipped with the technology and different automated driving styles.
The main findings of the report included:
On major roads where traditional vehicles outnumbered automated vehicles benefits are relatively small, but increase as the percentage of driverless cars on the roads increases - when measuring peak traffic periods with a maximum of up to 100% of driverless vehicles journey times reduced by more than 11% and delays cut by more than 40%.
On urban roads benefits are seen in peak traffic periods even with low levels of automated vehicles on roads - benefits include a 12% improvement in delays and a 21% improvement in journey time reliability.
Please note that this report is largely an analysis of the flow performance, and therefore doesnt cover in detail:
The safety impacts including the interaction of fully autonomous, semi-autonomous and fully manual vehicles
How the availability of autonomous vehicles owned or per-trip e.g. as taxis will change demand and use and the knock on effect on safety urban and rural roads.
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