Exploratory Modeling and Analysis for Automated Vehicles in Utah

Technological advances are impacting transportation across many dimensions. Private industry is driving one of the major advances, automated vehicles (AVs), with a number of companies ranging from Google to Audi testing cars with full automation (SAE Level 5). The organizations tasked with planning for transportation facilities – departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) – are in a reactive mode in figuring out how best to respond. AV will impact mobility, congestion, and safety, and their introduction into the vehicle fleet clearly brings a great deal of uncertainty with respect to forecasting travel demand and vehicle operations. AVs will deliver mobility to historically low mobility demographics such as the elderly, disabled, and children. AVs will also reduce the burden of long travel times by enabling passengers to focus on tasks other than driving. Both of these effects suggest that AVs will amplify growth in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) that is already projected to increase due to population growth in Utah. Utah is currently the fastest growing state in the U.S., and this growth will most certainly translate into higher levels of VMT in the future. AVs are likely to reinforce the traditional source of VMT growth from population and economic growth. The timing and magnitude of this VMT-augmentation are not well understood, however. The objectives of this research include: (1) To estimate the effects of varying levels of AV market penetration in the Wasatch Front region on VMT; (2) To estimate the effects of reduced travel time burden (referred to a Value of Travel Time, VOTT) on VMT; (3) To estimate the effects of increased capacity from AV technology such as platooning; (4) Informed by addressing Objectives 1 - 3, above, to develop future (2040) VMT estimates; and (5) To provide a knowledge foundation from which the issue of “zero-occupant vehicles” can be systematically investigated.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380

    Mountain Plains Consortium

    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    122 S. Central Campus Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380
  • Project Managers:

    Nichol, Kevin

  • Performing Organizations:

    RSG, Incorporated


    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561
  • Principal Investigators:

    Liu, Cathy

    Chamberlin, Robert

  • Start Date: 20171116
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190228
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01669504
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Utah Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 18-8401, 69A3551747108
  • Created Date: May 21 2018 12:12PM