Real-world laboratory for Automated Bus operation in public transport in urban and rural areas

Supporting research

The Institute of Transportation at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is investigating user acceptance and the traffic effects of the use of automated minibuses as part of accompanying scientific research. The acceptance research examines the extent to which such a new transportation service is accepted and what reservations exist among the population. The background to how a new technology influences attitudes, for example, is also determined. Based on surveys, an acceptance model will be created that depicts individual usage intentions, usage frequencies and general framework conditions for usage such as route purposes. Furthermore, the traffic effects, such as modal shift effects, of the expanded public transport service will be investigated. The agent-based transport demand model mobiTopp developed at the IfV is used to investigate these research questions, with a separate transport demand model being created for each of the two real-world laboratories in Mannheim and Friedrichshafen.

mobiTopp is a microscopic model for simulating traffic demand. It is based on the principle of multi-agent simulation. All inhabitants of the planning area are represented in the model as individual agents. The agents are assigned attributes that correspond to the attributes of the population, e.g. age, occupation, public transport season ticket ownership. Each agent has an activity program that is processed over the course of the one-week simulation and in the course of which numerous destination and transport mode decisions have to be made. To carry out each activity, a suitable destination is first determined and then the agent decides on one of the means of transportation available to them to reach their destination. This decision includes information on travel costs and travel times using the various means of transportation. In the model, an automated minibus will be available to the agents on certain routes in addition to the traditional means of transport. The results of the surveys carried out in the project are incorporated into the choice of means of transport.

In addition, a demand model without a specific spatial reference is created in order to be able to transfer the effects of automated buses to other areas of the state of Baden-Württemberg. In this way, all areas in Baden-Württemberg can be evaluated with regard to the use of automated public transport. At the end of the project, the transferability of the findings on technical feasibility and traffic effects will be assessed and recommendations for action will be compiled. Care will be taken to ensure that the results can later be transferred to other areas. Furthermore, statements can be made on economic efficiency and social acceptance.