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25th March 2022
Press Release

The First Mixed-Traffic Autonomous Bus in Spain Raised the Acceptance of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) in Madrid.

A third pilot of the PAsCAL project took place on the campus of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain). The campus hosts the first autonomous bus line in mixed traffic and under commercial operation in Spain. Participants of the pilot were asked to interact with the bus both as passengers and co-road users, sharing the road with the bus. 

Despite having only a medium-level of trust towards autonomous vehicles, after interacting with the bus in real-life, 86% of the participants reported that they would use autonomous transport if it was available to them. 

These and other additional findings have been presented in a final event of the Pilot 3 of the PAsCAL Research Project on Friday, 25 March 2022 in an online event. It includes both researchers who conducted the pilot and analysed its’ results as well as other stakeholders involved on the operation of the bus line:

  • CRTM, the regional transport authority of Madrid, on the multimodal aspect of the bus line and implications of autonomous vehicles on the wider public transport system;
  • UAM, the campus host and academic research body, on the implementation of the bus line for their students and employees and research conducted amongst them;
  • ALSA, the largest Spanish bus operator, on the operation of the bus line and the effect of autonomous vehicles on their wider offering.

Some key insights of the research include the following:

  • Co-road users perceived less influence of the autonomous bus operation on the traffic conditions across the campus (e.g., levels of congestion or road anger) and 90% of them felt confident to share the road with similar vehicles under different conditions;
  • Most participants (more than 80%) thought that the performance of public transport systems can be improved through increased levels of automation;
  • Participants were most willing to pay for this service by covering the cost through their monthly public transport ticket (which is already the case in this deployment).

* PAsCAL- acronym for “Enhance driver behaviour and Public Acceptance of Connected and Autonomous vehicLes “is an European project aimed to develop a multidimensional map of public acceptance of higher levels of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), pointing out any critical issues on the matter, particularly investigating the new “driver” needs considering different modes and mobility services. PAsCAL’s goal is to create a “Guide2Autonomy” (G2A), a set of guidelines and recommendations aimed at accelerating the user-friendly evolution of connected automated vehicles and transport systems.

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