Passenger opinions of the perceived safety and interaction with automated shuttles: A test ride study with ‘hidden’ safety steward

Sina Nordhoff*, Jork Stapel, Bart van Arem, Riender Happee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


A necessary condition for the effective integration of automated vehicles in our daily lives is their acceptance by passengers inside and pedestrians and cyclists outside the automated vehicle. 119 respondents experienced an automated shuttle ride with a ‘hidden steward on board’ in a mixed traffic environment in Berlin-Schöneberg. A mixed-method approach was applied gathering qualitative interview data during the ride and quantitative questionnaire data after the ride. Responses were classified into three main categories: (1) Perceived safety, (2) interactions with automated shuttles in crossing situations, and (3) communication with automated shuttles. Respondents associated their perceptions of safety with the low speed, dynamic object and event identification, longitudinal and lateral control, pressing the emergency button inside the shuttle, their general trust in technology, sharing the shuttle with fellow travellers, the operation of the shuttle in a controlled environment, and the behaviour of other road users outside the shuttle. Respondents pressed the emergency button inside the automated shuttle on 28 out of 62 test rides in order to test its behavior. They further expected to be more cautious in crossing the road before an automated shuttle due to the lack of eye contact with the human driver and a lack of trust in the behavior of the automated shuttle, and expected road users testing the automated shuttle due to the conservative driving behavior of automated shuttles. We recommend future research into the hypothesis that the acceptance of automated shuttles will be associated with the perceived safety of and their effective and intuitive interaction and communication with both passengers and other road users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-524
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Accompanied test rides
  • Automated shuttles
  • Automated vehicle acceptance
  • Interactions
  • Mixed method approach


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