Transportation Experts Think Electric, Automated, and Shared Rides Will Soon Reach Wide Adoption

Policymakers and executives from automakers and tech companies expect electrified, autonomous, shared mobility will see solid footing by 2040.

The Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis conducted a study with 40 experts on the subject from government and nonprofit organizations, and representatives from the auto and technology industries.

About 70 percent of the survey respondents believe that by 2040, fully autonomous vehicles will make up more than 20 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S.

Shared rides will make up more than 5 percent of all U.S. passenger miles by 2030, 80 percent of respondents said; and 78 percent think that will go up to more than 20 percent of miles covered by 2040.

The majority of the vehicles used commercially by ride- and car-sharing firms will be zero emission vehicles by 2050, according to 70 percent of those surveyed. ZEVs will include all-electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell vehicles.

The survey results were released with ITS-Davis’ new policy initiative, “Three Revolutions: Sharing, Electrification and Automation.” That report features a set of policy briefs written by transportation policy experts.

“This survey shows us that without thoughtful collaboration and community-facing policies, these changes would lead to increased inequities, vehicle travel and greenhouse gas emissions. We need to be creative to steer these innovations to the public interest,” said ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling.

Survey respondents think that a handful of companies are best positioned to lead the way on integrating these new advanced vehicle technologies. When asked to name them, 67 percent cited Google, 64 percent said Tesla and Uber, and 48 percent listed Lyft and General Motors.

Nearly all of those surveyed chose California as the state most likely to embrace all three mobility trends.

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Peter Kosak, executive director-urban mobility for GM, sees the survey findings showing disruptive technologies are coming from both inside and outside the automotive industry.

“In the end, partnerships – including working relationships with governments and communities – are likely essential to a rapid and successful transition,” Kosak said.

Most of the survey respondents believe policy will be needed for these technologies to fulfill their intended purposes. Without effective policy in place, 77 percent of those surveyed said the benefits of shared, automated vehicles won’t be evenly distributed across all income levels. About 80 percent think sales of autonomous vehicles will result in more greenhouse gas emission vehicles being emitted without policy actions taking place.

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