Background and Purpose
One of the most important pending issues currently faced by the passenger transport industry is how to improve the working environment and productivity of workers. In the era of self-driving technology and advanced mobility ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, however, the major challenge may be how to respond to these issues in relation to public transport policy and services. Self-driving technology will likely make driving more convenient, allow vehicles to use the road more efficiently by maneuvering with greater precision, and increase the efficiency of traffic operation. Coupled with car sharing, self-driving technology is expected to generate many positive effects, such as reduced car ownership and traffic congestion. However, it should be recognized that the marriage of autonomous driving and car sharing could be at odds with public transportation, potentially decreasing public transport ridership. As the operating environment of public transport in the future will inevitably differ from that of today, it is imperative that we analyze the impact of self-driving technology and car sharing on public transportation in order to take effective measures to address these issues.
Prospects for Autonomous Driving Technology and Sharing Transport Services
The reliability of self-driving technology and services based on self-driving platform technology is currently being scrutinized around the world. It seems likely that self-driving technology will advance to a level where the introduction of driverless shuttles and platooning operations will be possible.
Moreover, by 2030, self-driving cars and autonomous driving-based mobility services will be available commercially. Although the distribution of autonomous cars may be restricted by various constraints, such as infrastructure shortages and various regulations, it is likely that autonomous vehicles will be commercialized in about 10 years, judging from research based on various scenarios.
Ridesharing services is a highly controversial social issue in Korea that has been causing conflict between carpool services and the taxi industry, but has become quite popular in other nations around the world.
Ridesharing services can be categorized in various ways based on vehicle ownership, service manager, and service matching agent. Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), a relatively new concept where public and private transportation services are combined to provide consumers with the best mobility solutions, has been widely adopted in many cities in Europe. Korea is also joining the effort by carrying out various projects on a trial basis, such as the offering of discounts on transfers between public transportation and taxies, discounts for miles walked and/or biked, and introduction of the Metropolitan Budget Transit Card, which functions as a public transportation commuter pass. In addition, mobility-related businesses have already been investing in the development of transport platforms based on services that combine ridesharing and autonomous driving.
Analysis of the Effects of Public Transportation in the Era of Autonomous Driving and Shared Transport
In this study, we have examined the latest trends and future of self-driving technology and shared transport services and analyzed various factors that could affect public transportation. We have also categorized cities into two types based on modal split in order to predict changes in the role of public transportation in the era of autonomous driving and shared transport as well as predict and analyze changes in the modal split of public transportation, private cars, and shared transport through scenario simulation by taking into account possible integrated public transportation services, autonomous driving-based shared services, punctuality of bus services, and supply and demand variation.
We concluded that shared transport should be provided at an optimal level in large cities with excellent public transportation networks because, as shared transport becomes more common, the use of private cars and public transportation will decline, and road traffic will increase, resulting in traffic congestion and air pollution. To tackle the adverse effects of the introduction of shared transport, integrated mobility, which involves combining public transportation and other modes of transportation to provide the highest level of mobility, should be introduced along with self-driving cars. To maintain its competitive edge over shared transport, public transportation needs to improve its punctuality so that it can satisfy the demand of users by being more reliable and allowing for efficient route planning.
The study also showed that, as shared transport becomes more common in cities with high modal shares of private cars, the transition from private cars to shared transport gains ground, while the negative effects of shared transport, such as decreased demand for public transportation and increased road traffic, are not serious. It seems that these cities should use shared transport for the demand management of private cars, while maintaining the modal share of public transport, improving bus punctuality in order to reduce road traffic, and introducing integrated mobility services and self-driving cars for ridesharing. Changes in the demand for public transportation caused by the introduction of self-driving cars and shared transport differ from city to city, and the applicable technologies vary depending upon the complexity of urban transport. Accordingly, policy considerations regarding the provision public transport services may be different in each city and each technical stage.
Measures for the Provision of Public Transport Services in the Era of Automated Driving and Shared Public Transport
To find a model for autonomous driving and shared transport services that reflects the regional characteristics of each city and reforms public transport, it is important to introduce new technology on a trial basis. In this study, we have suggested a legal foundation that allows for the creation and operation of autonomous driving-based shared transport and public transport services in accordance with the Act on the Promotion of Smart City Development and Industry.
Large cities should use shared transport in areas where and at times when public transportation service is not available and introduce autonomous driving-based shared transport services designed to ensure that mobility disadvantaged people, including people with disabilities, seniors, children, and low income earners, all have equal access to mobility services.
In areas where public transport service is not readily accessible, such as remote agricultural and mountainous areas, shared transport should be actively utilized to ensure that local residents are able to exercise their mobility rights and enjoy higher levels of convenience. To that end, we have suggested various measures for easing regulations through the flexible application of the Passenger Transport Service Act as well as new standards for the management of transport platform projects. We have also proposed various policy ideas, such as incentives for self-driving car ridesharing designed to maximize the use of such vehicles and prevent an increase in single-occupancy vehicles, taxes on the use of autonomous driving infrastructure, and ways of securing financial resources for public transport operation, in preparation for possible changes to come in the future.