Would being driven by others affect the value of travel time? Ridehailing as an analogy for automated vehicles

  • Jingya Gao
  • Andisheh Ranjbari
  • Don MacKenzieEmail author


It is widely believed that vehicle automation will change how travelers perceive the value of travel time (VoTT), but the magnitude of this effect is still unknown. This study investigates how highly automated vehicles (AVs) may affect VoTT, using an existing mode—ridehailing services (RHS)—as an analogy for AVs. Both AVs and RHS relieve travelers from the effort of driving and allow them to participate in other activities while traveling. In a stated choice experiment, respondents chose between driving a personal vehicle or taking an RHS, with each mode characterized by a cost and travel time. Analysis results using a mixed logit model indicated that the VoTT was 13% lower when being driven in an RHS than when driving a personal car. We also told half the respondents (randomly selected) that the RHS was driverless; and for half (also randomly selected) we explicitly mentioned the ability to multitask while traveling in an RHS. Mentioning multitasking explicitly led to a much lower VoTT, approximately half that of driving oneself. However, the VoTT in a driverless RHS was 15% higher than when driving a personal car, which may reflect a lack of familiarity and comfort with driverless technology at present. These results suggest sizable reductions in VoTT for travel in future AVs, and point to the need for caution in making forecasts based on consumers’ current perceptions of AV technology.


Value of travel time Discrete choice model Ridehailing service Driverless vehicles Multitasking 



This paper is an extension of a conference paper with the same title presented at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC, USA in January 2019.

Author contribution

Study conception and design: D. MacKenzie, A. Ranjbari, J. Gao; Data collection: J. Gao; Analysis and interpretation of results: J. Gao, A. Ranjbari, D. MacKenzie; Draft manuscript preparation: J. Gao, A. Ranjbari. All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TransportationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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