Study finds that autonomous vehicles could contribute $591 billion to global GDP and transform creaking city mobility

Huge costs resulting from congestion, improved vehicle usage, lower emissions and less injuries could be mitigated by autonomous vehicles according to Frost & Sullivan report

Autonomous, low carbon vehicles could lead to lead to a 4% savings in GDP lost to things such as congestion, accidents and pollution [Credit: Frost & Sullivan]

Rapid urbanization, vehicle density, aging infrastructure, and transportation-related emissions are increasingly stressing the urban mobility ecosystem. One in twelve people in the world lives in the cities, and they account for nearly 15% of the total global vehicle population of 1.3 billion. This results in a cost burden of more than $300 billion related to congestion, and almost 20 percent of transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Cities are responding to these challenges by developing a more seamless and integrated mobility ecosystem. Discrete, siloed, and narrow definitions of transportation are giving way to broader, more inclusive and sustainable concepts of mobility.

"Strategic collaborations among public and private stakeholders in terms of operating models, car usage, multimodal journey planning, and payment options will drive innovative mobility models, particularly Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) initiatives in cities," explained Shwetha Surender, Mobility Industry Principal at Frost & Sullivan. "Vehicle occupancy rate is approximately 35% to 40% in cities, but shared mobility can improve vehicle utilization by 85%, which will not only decrease on-road vehicle miles travelled, but also relieve congestion and free up 20% of street space used for parking."

"Autonomous vehicles can simultaneously reduce road accidents to zero and bring down travel costs by 30% by decreasing congestion and eliminating the need for human operators. Overall, autonomous vehicles can potentially lead to a 4% savings in the gross domestic product (GDP)," added Franck Leveque, Partner and Mobility Business Unit Leader at Frost & Sullivan.

The report notes that the average driver spends 25% to 28% of their time stuck in traffic, with extremes represented by Los Angeles, where drivers average about 108 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, which costs the city almost $20 billion. With an estimated difference of up to 4,400 trips per year between a privately-owned vehicle and a modern mobility-enabled vehicle, the report says the potential step-change could be huge.

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