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1 CAVs as feeder modes

It has been argued that CAVs, in particular at levels 4/5 and when used as MaaS, are ideal providers of the first and last mile of access to more conventional public transport systems. The can be summoned in advance, and payment is expected to be integrated into a single app. The fact that they do not need to park at the station/stop reduces land take requirements but creates some extra empty journeys.

Even when the CAV is owned, it may still be a useful addition to public transport services. The effectiveness of this arrangement depends on whether the owner will find it more attractive to perform the journey door-to-door in its CAV; this, in turn, will be driven by the relative travel times by CAV or public transport and the availability of parking at the destination. Therefore, there are at least three policy instruments that can be used to encourage the use of CAVs as feeders to public transport rather than door-to-door journey providers:
  • policies to protect public transport from delays due to congestion (bus lanes, segregated track)
  • parking policy to restrict and charge for parking at destination clusters
  • Road User Charges that are low for feeder routes and more expensive at (congested) longer distance corridors.

More drastic measures like banning the use of CAVs for longer distance corridors are more difficult to implement and perhaps unlikely to be acceptable in most countries.

2 CAVs as competitors to public transport

(See also Impact on public transport)

The effect of AV on public transport is currently unclear. On the one hand, AVs are likely to compete with public transport. For example, RAND identifies that one of the main traveller benefits of public transport is the opportunity to be productive while on the move. AVs will offer this same benefit and may drain user numbers from public transport. On the other hand, AV technology may be used in public transport itself, such as in driverless buses or automated trains, to improve efficiency. Equally, the use of AVs for the first and last mile (see also the section on feeder modes, above) may drive more users to public transport, in particular to the trunk lines (i.e. interurban trains or long-distance buses). Rather than reducing the number of passengers on public transport, AVs may redistribute them.

The balance and impact of these effects are likely to vary between locations. For example, in dense urban areas, such as London, New York or Tokyo, the public transport system is stretched so moving passengers into private AVs will relieve overcrowding. This is at a cost of reduced revenues, however, this could be addressed through targeted taxes. In many rural areas, existing public transport systems are struggling with insufficient passenger numbers and may not remain viable in the face of competition from AVs. This may call for a change in business model. For example, public transport in a small, rural village may take the form of AVs that are economically viable where a regular bus route is not. Little or no research has been done to date on the impact of AVs on public transport. Local authorities and transport operators would benefit from appropriate attitudinal surveys and both transport and economic modelling to guide future plans.

3 Integrated ticketing

Integrated ticketing will play a significant role in facilitating intermodal integration. Such an integration may be achieved through the intelligent use of smart cards, bank cards or mobile phone. The latter has the advantage of facilitating the integration with other elements of the request and provision of mobility services. Applications like WHIM are designed to integrate the request, confirmation, tracking, payment and quality assessment of a multi-modal journey.