Suburban Areas Most Affected by Automated Driving (SAMAAAD)

Research Sponsor:

Toyota Research Institute—North America

TEMA, Ann Arbor, Michigan (TRI-NA)

Principal Investigator:

Alan M. Berger


Alan M. Berger, Casey L. Brown, Ken Laberteaux (TRI-NA), Karim Hamza (TRI-NA)


This proposal initiates a new research direction of mutual interest to the mobility industry and urban designers/planners—the effects of automated driving on urban areas. Most current media and research interest in the automated sector focuses on dense urban environments (for example, see Audi Urban Future Initiative). However, ongoing research by P-REX and the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT (LCAU) documents how the suburban environment is the dominant form of urbanization in the U.S. (50%+ of the population, 55% of commute destinations). It is likely to remain dominant given the supermajority share of population and employment in suburban areas. We propose an investigation of the economic and infrastructural ramifications of automated driving technologies and vehicles on suburban areas.

The research project will attempt to monetize a “first wave” segment of automated driving (AD) for commuting. This valuation will then be mapped onto an urban area(s) based on existing commuting data from the ACS, NHTS or potentially the California Household Travel Survey. A final output mapping will allow comparison of different portions of an urban area(s) based on the differential benefits of AD to the commutes.

The primary scope of this project will be a combination of NHTSA-defined driving standards Level 3 (conditional autonomy) and Level 4 (full autonomy) as applied to a prototypical suburban pattern of urbanization.

(Internal publication, 2015-16)

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