Potential health and well-being implications of autonomous vehicles

Patrick A. Singleton*, Jonas De Vos, Eva Heinen, Baiba Pudāne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Transportation's effects on health and well-being are widely recognized. In the near future, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are expected to revolutionize transportation options and ways of travel. Consequently, the effect of AVs on population health and well-being is a crucial topic of interest for transportation policymaking, one that has received comparatively little attention. This chapter discusses (and anticipates) potential AV impacts on health and well-being. First, we summarize knowledge surrounding effects of transportation on physical health (traffic safety, air and noise pollution, and physical activity) and well-being (travel satisfaction, access to activities, etc.). We then discuss how AVs may affect traveler behaviors, focusing on mode shifts toward private, shared, and/or pooled AVs, and how these shifts may lead to an overall increase in automobile travel, even if not necessarily in person-travel. Finally, we interpret the previous two sections to deduce potential positive, negative, and uncertain health/well-being effects of AVs. We expect benefits from improved safety, well-being, and access to opportunities; disadvantages from reduced physical activity; and uncertain impacts around land use changes and emissions. We conclude by discussing policy implications and research paths forward.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Transport Policy and Planning
EditorsDimitris Milakis, Nikolas Thomopoulos, Bert van Wee
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780128201916
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transport Policy and Planning
ISSN (Print)2543-0009
ISSN (Electronic)2542-9116

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Access
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Health
  • Physical activity
  • Pollution
  • Safety
  • Satisfaction
  • Travel behavior
  • Well-being


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