The Societal Benefits of Vehicle Connectivity

Published in: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 93 (April 2021). doi: 10.1016/j.trd.2021.102750

Posted on RAND.org on March 18, 2021

by Robert J. Lempert, Benjamin Lee Preston, Sophia Charan, Laura Fraade-Blanar, Marjory S. Blumenthal

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Connected vehicles (CV) comprise a broad class of capabilities enabled by automobiles, other vehicles, and components of the roadway system communicating with each other. A fast growing commercial market, CV has the potential for significant, but heretofore under-explored societal benefits. This study employs a scenario analysis to estimate environmental, health, access, and equity outcomes from widespread deployment of CV in the United States by 2035. A Mobility for All scenario, envisioning favorable policy and optimistic assumptions about technology progress, provides significant societal benefits. Two alternative scenarios, Mobility in Transition and Fragmented Mobility, provide environmental benefits similar to one another, but the latter degrades health, access, and equity for most of the population. The scenarios suggest that CV's most significant societal benefits arise from its interactions with automation and electrification and that enhancing equity in any push towards CV represent a low-regrets option for public, private, and civil society actors.

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