A Review on Energy, Environmental, and Sustainability Implications of Connected and Automated Vehicles

Morteza Taiebat, Austin L. Brown, Hannah R. Safford, Shen Qu, and Ming Xu (2018). “A Review on Energy, Environmental, and Sustainability Implications of Connected and Automated Vehicles.” Environmental Science & Technology 52 (20), 11449-11465.
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b00127

Abstract: Connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are poised to reshape transportation and mobility by replacing humans as the driver and service provider. While the primary stated motivation for vehicle automation is to improve safety and convenience of road mobility, this transformation also provides a valuable opportunity to improve vehicle energy efficiency and reduce emissions in the transportation sector. Progress in vehicle efficiency and functionality, however, does not necessarily translate to net positive environmental outcomes. Here, we examine the interactions between CAV technology and the environment at four levels of increasing complexity: vehicle, transportation system, urban system, and society. We find that environmental impacts come from CAV-facilitated transformations at all four levels, rather than from CAV technology directly. We anticipate net positive environmental impacts at the vehicle, transportation system, and urban system levels, but expect greater vehicle utilization and shifts in travel patterns at the society level to offset some of these benefits. Focusing on the vehicle-level improvements associated with CAV technology is likely to yield excessively optimistic estimates of environmental benefits. Future research and policy efforts should strive to clarify the extent and possible synergetic effects from a systems level to envisage and address concerns regarding the short- and long-term sustainable adoption of CAV technology.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.