Americans would rather drive themselves to work than have an autonomous vehicle drive them


A traffic jam on a huge freeway at night

UW researchers studied how Americans’ ideas about the cost of commute time change based on who’s driving to them work.

Many Americans use a ride-hailing service – like Uber or Lyft – to get to and from work. It provides the privacy of riding in a personal car and the convenience of catching up on emails or social media during traffic jams. In the future, self-driving vehicles could provide the same service, except without a human driver.

But would consumers be willing to ride in a driverless car?

Researchers at the University of Washington studied how Americans’ perceived cost of commute time changes depending on who’s driving. Through a survey, the team found that people considered a ride-hailing service at least 13% “less expensive,” in terms of time, compared to driving themselves. If the researchers told people the ride-hailing service was driverless, however, then the cost of travel time increased to 15% more than driving a personal car, suggesting that at least for now, people would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle drive them.

The team published its results Aug. 6 in the journal Transportation.

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