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A structural equation modeling approach for the acceptance of driverless automated shuttles based on constructs from the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and the Diffusion of Innovation Theory

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The present study investigated the attitudes and acceptance of automated shuttles in public transport among 340 individuals physically experiencing the automated shuttle ‘Emily’ from Easymile in a mixed traffic environment on the semi-public EUREF (Europäisches Energieforum) campus in Berlin. Automated vehicle acceptance was modelled as a function of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) constructs performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions, the Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DIT) constructs compatibility and trialability, as well as trust and automated shuttle sharing. The results show that after adding the DIT constructs, automated shuttle sharing, and trust to the model, the effect of performance expectancy on behavioural intention was no longer significant. Instead, compatibility with current travel was the strongest predictor of behavioural intention to use automated shuttles. It was further found that individuals who are willing to share rides in an automated shuttle with fellow travelers (i.e., automated shuttle sharing) and who trust automated shuttles (i.e., trust) are more likely to intend to use automated shuttles (i.e., behavioural intention). The highest mean rating was obtained for believing that automated shuttles are easy to use, while the lowest mean rating was obtained for feeling safe inside the automated shuttle without any type of supervision. The analysis revealed a preference for the supervision of the automated shuttle via an external control room to the supervision by a human steward onboard. We recommend future research to investigate the hypothesis that compatibility could serve as an even stronger predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles in public transport than performance expectancy.
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A structural equation modeling approach for the acceptance
of driverless automated shuttles based on constructs from the
Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and the
Diffusion of Innovation Theory
Sina Nordhoff
a,b,
, Victor Malmsten
c
, Bart van Arem
a
, Peng Liu
d
, Riender Happee
a
a
Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
b
EICT GmbH, Germany
c
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
d
Tianjin University, China
article info
Article history:
Received 12 December 2019
Received in revised form 29 December 2020
Accepted 2 January 2021
Available online xxxx
Keywords:
Automated vehicle acceptance
DIT
UTAUT
Automated shuttles
Automated shuttle sharing
abstract
The present study investigated the attitudes and acceptance of automated shuttles in pub-
lic transport among 340 individuals physically experiencing the automated shuttle ‘Emily’
from Easymile in a mixed traffic environment on the semi-public EUREF (Europäisches
Energieforum) campus in Berlin. Automated vehicle acceptance was modelled as a function
of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) constructs perfor-
mance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions, the
Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DIT) constructs compatibility and trialability, as well as
trust and automated shuttle sharing. The results show that after adding the DIT constructs,
automated shuttle sharing, and trust to the model, the effect of performance expectancy on
behavioural intention was no longer significant. Instead, compatibility with current travel
was the strongest predictor of behavioural intention to use automated shuttles. It was fur-
ther found that individuals who are willing to share rides in an automated shuttle with fel-
low travelers (i.e., automated shuttle sharing) and who trust automated shuttles (i.e., trust)
are more likely to intend to use automated shuttles (i.e., behavioural intention). The high-
est mean rating was obtained for believing that automated shuttles are easy to use, while
the lowest mean rating was obtained for feeling safe inside the automated shuttle without
any type of supervision. The analysis revealed a preference for the supervision of the auto-
mated shuttle via an external control room to the supervision by a human steward
onboard. We recommend future research to investigate the hypothesis that compatibility
could serve as an even stronger predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated
shuttles in public transport than performance expectancy.
Ó2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC
BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
1. Introduction
Automated shuttles can substantially contribute to the attractiveness of public transport. As these vehicles feed public
transport on the first and last end of a public transport trip and can be ordered on-demand, they can provide flexible
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2021.01.001
1369-8478/Ó2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Corresponding author at: Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.
E-mail address: s.nordhoff@tudelft.nl (S. Nordhoff).
Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Transportation Research Part F
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/trf
door-to-door transport around the clock, while being affordable due to decreased labor costs (Shen, Zhang, & Zhao, 2018). As
a hybrid form of individual-public transport, automated shuttles can enhance the inter-modality and individualization of
public transport due to smaller-sized vehicles (Shen et al., 2018). Given the large investments in the development of auto-
mated vehicles, forecasting the acceptance of automated vehicles in public transport and collecting feedback on prototypes
from potential users as early as possible is desirable to increase the chance of acceptance and reduce the likelihood of rejec-
tion (Davis, 1993; Gould, Boies, & Lewis, 1991; Rosson, Maass, & Kellogg, 1987).
Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, and Davis (2003) Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) posits that the
intention to use technology is influenced by performance expectancy (i.e., perceived usefulness), effort expectancy (i.e., per-
ceived ease of use), social influence (i.e., influence of the individual’s social network on the acceptance of the individual), and
facilitating conditions (i.e., objective factors in the individual’s environment supporting usage). Roger’s (2003) Diffusion of
Innovation Theory (DIT) posits that an individual’s adoption decision is influenced by compatibility (i.e., consistency of tech-
nology with individual’s existing values, needs and experiences of potential adopters), trialability (i.e., trialling and experi-
encing technology before adoption), observability (i.e., observing someone using the technology), relative advantage, image,
and complexity. Relative advantage, image, and complexity correspond with the UTAUT constructs performance expectancy,
social influence, and effort expectancy, respectively (Venkatesh et al., 2003). As automated shuttles can currently only be
experienced in the context of trials, there are no respondents who could be observed using automated shuttles. Therefore,
the present study did not examine the effect of observability on behavioural intention.
Automated vehicle acceptance has received ample attention in the past few years. Previous studies have modelled the
behavioural intention to use automated vehicles as a function of the UTAUT constructs and trust (Choi & Ji, 2015; Garidis,
Ulbricht, Rossmann, & Schmäh, 2020; Hewitt, Politis, Amanatidis, & Sarkar, 2019; Kaur & Rampersad, 2018; Kettles & Van
Belle, 2019; Madigan et al., 2016; Madigan, Louw, Wilbrink, Schieben, & Merat, 2017;Nordhoff et al., 2018;Xu et al.,
2018; Zhang et al., 2019). The multi-level model on automated vehicle acceptance (MAVA) (Nordhoff, De Winter, Payre,
Van Arem, & Happee, 2019; Nordhoff, Kyriakidis, Van Arem, & Happee, 2019), summarizing automated vehicle acceptance
research on the basis of 124 studies, revealed that compatibility and automated shuttle sharing were examined in only
10 out of 124 studies, respectively. Trialability has not been investigated in any of these studies. Thus, little is known about
the predictive effect of the DIT constructs compatibility and trialability and automated shuttle sharing on behavioural inten-
tion. Identifying and testing additional predictors can enhance the prediction of behavioural intention and provide a richer
understanding of automated vehicle acceptance (see Venkatesh et al., 2003). Furthermore, there is limited knowledge on
how the effect of the UTAUT constructs and trust on behavioural intention changes with the addition of the DIT constructs
compatibility and trialability as well as automated shuttle sharing in one model. It is important to determine the ability of
variables to predict the outcome variable in a multivariable context. While a variable can have a strong bivariate correlation
with the outcome variable, its effect on the outcome variable can disappear when it is considered together with additional
variables in a model. This would then imply that this particular variable is not needed to produce the optimal prediction of
the outcome variable (Hair, Black, Babin, & Anderson, 2014). This knowledge can contribute to the development of more eco-
nomic measures to investigate attitudes towards and acceptance of automated vehicles.
The examination of the relative importance of the UTAUT and the DIT constructs trialability and compatibility, trust in
automation and automated shuttle sharing on behavioural intention provides unique contributions to the body of work
on automated vehicle acceptance.
2. Research objectives
The main objectives of the present study therefore are:
i. To examine the direct effects of the UTAUT constructs performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and
facilitating conditions, on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles in public transport
ii. To examine the direct effects of the DIT constructs trialability, compatibility, as well as trust and automated shuttle
sharing on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles in public transport
2.1. Hypothesis development
In previous studies on automated vehicle acceptance, positive effects of performance expectancy, facilitating conditions,
and social influence on individual’s behavioural intention to use automated vehicles were found (Bernhard, Oberfeld,
Hoffmann, Weismüller, & Hecht, 2020; Garidis et al., 2020; Kaur & Rampersad, 2018; Kettles & Van Belle, 2019; Madigan
et al., 2016, 2017; Motamedi, Wang, Zhang, & Chan, 2020;Xu et al., 2018; Zhang et al., 2020). Note that the literature on
automated vehicle acceptance has reported an ambiguous relationship between effort expectancy and behavioural intention
(see Nordhoff, De Winter, et al., 2019; Nordhoff, Kyriakidis, et al., 2019). Several studies revealed positive effects of effort
expectancy on behavioural intention (Bernhard et al., 2020; Garidis et al., 2020; Xu et al., 2018; Zhang et al., 2020), while
others did not find significant effects (Madigan et al., 2017; Motamedi et al., 2020). The present study expects that individ-
uals who consider automated shuttles useful (i.e., performance expectancy), easy to use (i.e., effort expectancy), and who
believe that important others in their social networks support the use of automated shuttles (i.e., social influence) are more
likely to intend to use automated shuttles (i.e., behavioural intention). We posit the following hypotheses:
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
59
H1–H4: Performance expectancy (H1), effort expectancy (H2), social influence (H3), and facilitating conditions (H4) will have a
positive effect on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
Compatibility is defined as the degree to which an innovation is perceived to be consistent with existing values, needs and
experiences of potential adopters (Rogers, 2003). Deb et al. (2017) found that individuals who indicated that fully automated
vehicles are compatible with the transportation system were more likely to accept fully automated vehicles in their area.
Yuen, Cai, Qi, and Wang (2020) and Yuen, Wong, Ma, and Wang (2020) confirmed a positive, indirect relationship between
compatibility and public acceptance of automated vehicles. Several studies in other domains evidenced positive direct
effects of compatibility on behavioural intention (Aldás-Monzano, Ruiz-Mafé, & Sanz-Blas, 2008; Chang & Tung, 2008;
Ozaki & Sevastyanova, 2011; Rezvani, Jansson, & Bodin, 2015; Sharif Sharifzadeh, Damalas, Abdollahzadeh, & Ahmadi-
Gorgi, 2017). Based on these findings, we expect a positive relationship between compatibility and the behavioural intention
to use automated shuttles. The assumption is that individuals who consider automated shuttles compatible with their exist-
ing mobility routines and needs are more likely to intend to use automated shuttles. We therefore hypothesize:
H5: Compatibility will have a positive effect on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
Trialability is the extent to which an innovation can be trialled and experienced before the adoption (Rogers, 2003). Kaye,
Buckley, Rakotonirainy, and Delhomme (2019) posit that the successful implementation of automated vehicles depends
upon the outcomes of trials, and that it is important to evaluate automated vehicle acceptance by public trials. Liu, Xu,
and Zhao (2019) posit that the investigation of the acceptance of road tests is a pressing research need that has to be
addressed, especially after the occurrence of the first pedestrian fatality caused by an automated vehicle. The authors
revealed a positive relationship between the perceived benefits (equivalent to performance expectancy) and road test accep-
tance, implying that individuals who value the perceived benefits of automated vehicles are more likely to accept road tests
with automated vehicles (Liu et al., 2019). Yuen et al. (2020) and Yuen et al. (2020) found a positive, indirect effect of trial-
ability on the public acceptance of automated vehicles. We expect a positive relationship between trialability and the beha-
vioural intention to use automated shuttles. The assumption is that individuals who value experiencing automated shuttles
in trials prior to adoption (i.e., trialability) are more inclined to use automated shuttles (i.e., behavioural intention). We
hypothesize:
H6: Trialability will have a positive effect on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
Trust is a key driver of automated vehicle acceptance (Choi & Ji, 2015; Du, Robert, Pradhan, Tilbury, & Yang, 2018;
Herrenkind, Nastjuk, Brendel, Trang, & Kolbe, 2019; Kaur & Rampersad, 2018; Roche-Cerasi, 2019; Xu et al., 2018; Yuen
et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2019, 2020). Lee and Mirman (2018) revealed that the perceived concern ‘I would not know
how the autonomous vehicle will protect my child if there are aggressive or dangerous vehicles nearby’ received the highest
agreement among parents. On the basis of these results, we expect that individuals with higher levels of trust in automated
shuttles are more likely to intend to use automated shuttles. We hypothesize:
H7: Trust will have a positive effect on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
Synchronously sharing automated vehicles with strangers is one of the big central questions and top conditions for the
widespread success and adoption of automated vehicles (Clayton, Paddeu, Parkhurst, & Parkin, 2020; Paddeu, Parkhurst, &
Shergold, 2020). Nevertheless, it has received surprisingly little attention from scientific scholars so far (Axsen & Sovacool,
2019; Sanguinetti, Kurani, & Ferguson, 2019). Cunningham, Ledger, and Regan (2018) found that ‘‘travelling in public trans-
port in which the vehicle is driverless” and ‘‘sharing a driverless vehicle” received the lowest agreement among respondents.
This corresponds with the study of Clayton et al. (2020) in which the shared automated vehicle was the least popular option,
with 38.90% of respondents willing to use it. Likewise, in the study of Bansal and Kockelman (2018), 50% of respondents
reported to be comfortable with sharing a ride with a stranger for short durations during the day or with a friend of one
of their Facebook friends. Gurumurthy and Kockelman (2020) found that the proportion of respondents willing to share
an automated vehicle with strangers dropped with increases in travel time. Clayton et al. (2020) found that people who indi-
cated to feel comfortable interacting with strangers are more likely to use shared automated vehicles. Faber and Van Lierop
(2020) revealed that being able to travel and socialize with others is an important motive for using automated vehicles. We
hypothesize:
H8: Automated shuttle sharing will have a positive effect on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
The proposed relationships are shown in Fig. 1.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
60
3. Method
3.1. Automated shuttle, respondent recruitment and procedure
The results reported here were part of a 45-item questionnaire, which was administered to users of the automated shuttle
‘Emily’ on the EUREF office campus in Berlin-Schöneberg (Germany) via tablet computers between March and December
2018. The automated shuttle that was involved in the trial is shown in Fig. 2.
The shuttle carried up to 12 passengers per trip (6 sitting, 6 standing) and ran at a maximum speed of 13 km/h. A steward
was inside the shuttle to intervene in the vehicle operations when requested by the system. For example, obstacles that were
on the trajectory of the shuttle had to be overtaken manually. Our previous trial at the EUREF campus involved an automated
shuttle running on the basis of fixed stops, where stewards braked and accelerated manually (Nordhoff et al., 2018). In the
current study, ‘Emily’ operated on the basis of virtual stops to simulate that the future hop-on and hop-off situation can be
dynamic and without the constraints of fixed stops. ‘Emily’ now braked and continued to drive at stops in automated mode.
At the end of the ride, the stewards handed out the tablet computers with a questionnaire to individuals. Only individuals
who took a ride with the automated shuttle were asked to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire was offered in Ger-
man and English, depending on the preference of the respondent. The information was recorded anonymously and no finan-
cial compensation was offered to respondents.
3.2. Questionnaire content
With the first six questions (Q1–Q6), the respondents were asked to assess their level of agreement with items pertaining
to the perceived usefulness and ease of use (i.e., performance and effort expectancy) of automated shuttles in public trans-
port. The next question (Q7) asked respondents to rate the user-friendliness, adequateness for daily use, reliability, environ-
mental friendliness, affordability and innovativeness of the automated shuttle. Next, respondents were asked to rate their
level of satisfaction with automated shuttles (Q8). Question Q9 asked respondents to indicate how their personal view on
automated shuttles has changed since their personal test ride.
Next, three questions (Q10–Q12) were presented to assess the agreement of respondents with items capturing the avail-
ability of conditions supporting the use of automated shuttles (i.e., facilitating conditions). Questions Q13–Q18 asked
Performance
Expectancy (PE)
Effort
Expectancy (EE)
Social
Influence (SI)
Facilitating
Conditions (FC)
Behavioural
intention
Trialability
(TRIAL)
Trust (TRU)
Compatibility
(COM)
Automated
Shuttle Sharing
(ASS)
H1
H2
H3
H4
H5
H6
H7
H8
Fig. 1. Research model.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
61
respondents to indicate their agreement with items pertaining to their desired level of privacy in automated shuttles (i.e.,
automated shuttle sharing) and their reliance on the opinions of others (i.e., social influence).
Respondents were asked to rate the level of comfort for the driving maneuvers of the automated shuttle (Q19). Questions
Q20 and Q21 asked respondents to rate the amount of effort required to maintain a posture/balance during the ride and to
carry out a task (if respondents were carrying out a task), respectively. Question Q22 asked respondents to rate the level of
comfort felt for specific vehicle characteristics.
Next, questions Q23–Q30 asked respondents to rate their level of trust in (i.e., trust) and acceptance of automated shuttles
(i.e., behavioural intention). Questions Q31 and Q32 asked respondents to rate the importance of having a steward inside the
shuttle (Q31), and supervising the automated shuttle from an external control room to provide manual control (Q32). Ques-
tion Q33 asked respondents whether they would feel safe without any type of supervision. Questions Q34–Q37 asked
respondents to indicate their level of agreement with items capturing the importance of experiencing automated shuttles
in the context of trials (i.e., trialability). Questions Q38–Q41 asked respondents to rate questions pertaining to the compat-
ibility of automated shuttles with their existing mobility needs and behavior (i.e., compatibility).
With the final questions Q42–Q45, respondents were asked to provide information on their gender (Q42), age (Q43),
access to a valid driver license (Q44), and transport pass (Q45).
The operationalization of the questions pertaining to the UTAUT and DIT constructs Q1–Q6, Q10–Q12, Q15–Q18, Q28–
Q30, and Q34–Q41 were used from Venkatesh et al. (2003) and Rogers (2003) and adjusted to the context of this study.
Q7–Q9, Q13–Q14, and Q26 were adapted from the WOB (2016) Emobility cube questionnaire that was conducted by the
InnoZ to assess the acceptance of electric vehicles. Q23–Q25 were adapted from Choi and Ji (2015). Q27, and Q31–Q33 were
self-constructed.
3.3. Analysis of responses
A two-step approach was adopted (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). First, a confirmatory factor analysis was performed to
assess the measurement relationships between the latent and observed variables. Latent variables are hypothetical or the-
oretical constructs that are indirectly measured by the observed variables (i.e., questionnaire items). The psychometric prop-
erties of the measurement model were assessed by its indicator reliability, internal consistency reliability, convergent
validity and discriminant validity. Convergent validity was assessed by four criteria: 1) All scale items should be significant
and have loadings exceeding 0.60 on their respective scales, 2) the average variance extracted (AVE) should exceed 0.50, 3)
construct reliability (CR) and 4) Cronbach’s alpha values should exceed 0.70 (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988; Fornell & Larcker,
1981). Discriminant validity of our data was examined with the test of squared correlations by Anderson and Gerbing (1988),
which implies that the correlation coefficient between two latent variables should be smaller than the square root of the
average variance extracted (AVE) of each latent variable to demonstrate sufficient discriminant validity.
The second step of the analysis involved testing the structural model, which relates the UTAUT and DIT constructs with
trust in automation and automated shuttle sharing. Maximum-likelihood (ML) estimation was used to estimate the mea-
surement and structural model, which has proven robust to violations of the normality assumption (Hair et al., 2014). Full
Information Maximum Likelihood (FIML) was used to deal with missing data. Note that we did not perform a Multiple Cause
Multiple Indicator (MIMIC) model that captures a latent construct with both several formative indicators (‘‘cause” in the
name of MIMIC) and reflective indicators (‘‘effect” in the name of MIMIC) (Jöreskog & Goldberger, 1975; Peng & Lai,
2012) as no latent construct in our study has both formative and reflective indicators.
The confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were performed with R software lavaan package
(Rosseel, 2012).
Fig. 2. Automated shuttle ‘Emily’, EZ10, by Easymile on the EUREF campus in Berlin, Germany.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
62
4. Results
4.1. Respondents
Responses from 340 individuals were gathered between April and December 2018. Respondents completed the question-
naire after their ride with the automated shuttle in a building of the InnoZ. When the respondents did not have time to fill
out the questionnaire at the InnoZ, they were provided with an online link to access the questionnaire at a convenient place
and time. Missing values (i.e., ‘I prefer not to respond’ – responses to the questions Q1–Q6, Q9–Q18, and Q23–Q41) were
deleted. The mean age of respondents was 31.34 years (SD = 11.27). 162 respondents were female, 148 respondents were
male, and seven respondents picked the gender option ‘‘Other”. 268 respondents indicated to be in possession of a public
transport ticket, while 40 specified they were not. 248 respondents reported to have access to a valid driver license, while
63 respondents specified they did not.
4.2. Ratings of attitudinal questions
As shown in Table 1, on a scale from very negative (1) to very positive (6), respondents rated the automated shuttle as
innovative (Q7.6, M=5.11, SD =1.27), environmentally-friendly (Q7.4, M=4.66, SD =1.36), user-friendly (Q7.1, M=4.34,
SD =1.25), adequate for daily use (Q7.2, M=4.05, SD =1.15), reliable (Q7.3, M=4.02, SD =1.10), and affordable (Q7.5,
M=3.87, SD =1.21) (Q7).
The respondents indicated to be slightly satisfied with the automated shuttle (Q8), with a mean of 3.76 (SD =1.19) on a
scale from very unsatisfied (1) to very satisfied (6) (Q8). As shown by Fig 3, 41.96% of respondents indicated that taking a ride
with the automated shuttle has produced no change of their view on automated vehicles in public transport, while 37.20%
reported a rather positive and 16.37% a positive change of their view on automated shuttles (Q9, M= 3.65, SD = 0.81, on a
scale from very negative (1) to very positive (5)).
On a Likert scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (6), the highest mean rating was obtained for the item per-
taining to the belief that learning to use automated shuttles would be easy (Q3, M= 5.44, SD = 0.91). The lowest mean rating
was obtained for feeling safe without any type of supervision (Q33, M= 2.92, SD = 1.56) (see Fig. 4). A moderate rating was
obtained for abolishing the own car in favor of public transport and automated shuttles as feeder systems to public transport
(Q27, M= 3.35, SD = 1.56).
As shown by Figs. 5 and 6, respectively, on a scale from not at all important (1) to very important (6), respondents con-
sidered a steward inside the automated shuttle moderately important (Q31, M= 3.85, SD = 1.67), and favor the supervision of
the automated shuttle from an external control room (Q32, M= 4.81, SD = 1.30).
4.3. Results of confirmatory factor analysis
The results of the confirmatory factor analysis are shown in Table 2. The items measuring effort expectancy (EE1), trust
(TRU4), trialability (TRIAL1), automated shuttle sharing (ASS1), and behavioural intention (BI1–BI2) were omitted from the
analysis as their loading was below the recommended threshold of 0.60. The fit parameters of the measurement model were
acceptable for all latent variables. The Confirmatory Fit Index (CFI) (0.94 0.95), Root Mean Square Error Approximation
(RMSEA) (0.05), Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) (0.05), and chi-square statistic (
v
2
/df) (1.14) were accept-
able. Composite reliability and Cronbach’s alpha both exceeded the recommended threshold of 0.70, confirming internal con-
sistency reliability. The average variance extracted (AVE) values exceeded the recommended minimum threshold of 0.50 for
all latent variables except for effort expectancy and automated shuttle sharing. As shown by Table 3, which reports the inter-
construct correlations, discriminant validity was acceptable for all latent variables.
4.4. Results of structural equation modeling
We ran two structural models for this study. First, the effects of the UTAUT constructs performance expectancy, effort
expectancy, facilitating conditions, and social influence on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles were inves-
tigated. Second, the effects of the DIT constructs compatibility, trialability, as well as trust and automated shuttle sharing on
the behavioural intention were investigated. The results of the structural equation modeling are shown in Table 4, and inter-
preted in the discussion.
5. Discussion and conclusion
New data was collected with a dedicated set of questions among 340 individuals physically experiencing the automated
shuttle ‘Emily’ from Easymile in a mixed traffic environment on the semi-public EUREF campus in Berlin. The main objective
was to examine the direct effects of the UTAUT and DIT constructs, trust and automated shuttle sharing on behavioural
intention. Prior research separately applied the UTAUT and DIT constructs to predict automated vehicle acceptance. Our cur-
rent study uniquely integrates the UTAUT and DIT constructs into one model to predict the acceptance of automated shuttles
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
63
Table 1
Means (M), standard deviations (SD), rating scale, number of respondents (n), absolute frequencies.
Questionnaire item MSD123456n
Q1. My interaction with the automated shuttle would be clear and understandable. 4.74 1.19 8 16 16 59 141 87 327
Q2. I think that automated shuttles would be useful for my daily travel. 4.33 1.52 16 43 31 67 84 96 337
Q3. Learning to use automated shuttles would be easy for me. 5.44 0.91 3 5 5 23 91 209 336
Q4. I think that an automated shuttle would be more useful than my existing form of
travel.
3.58 1.46 32 53 69 87 59 36 336
Q5. I think that automated shuttles would be a useful extension of our current transport
systems.
5.09 1.08 5 10 8 50 118 148 339
Q6. I would find automated shuttles easy to use. 5.12 0.94 2 3 11 59 121 139 335
Q7.1. – Q7.6. According to your experiences: How would you rate automated shuttles?
Q7.1. User-friendly 4.34 1.25 2 7 96 93 43 93 334
Q7.2. Adequate for daily use 4.05 1.15 2 21 88 113 59 47 330
Q7.3. Reliable 4.02 1.10 3 21 76 128 61 37 326
Q7.4. Environmentally-friendly 4.66 1.36 4 8 75 68 30 146 331
Q7.5. Affordable 3.87 1.21 5 36 79 116 43 40 319
Q7.6. Innovative 5.11 1.27 1 4 64 25 33 205 332
Q8. Please let us know to what extent you are unsatisfied or satisfied with automated
shuttles.
3.76 1.19 3 24 147 85 26 49 334
Q9. To what extent has your personal view on automated shuttles changed since your
personal test ride?
3.65 0.81 1 14 141 125 55 0 336
Q10. I have the knowledge necessary to use automated shuttles. 4.51 1.41 16 17 42 64 95 99 333
Q11. Given the resources, opportunities and knowledge it takes to use automated
shuttles, it would be easy for me to use automated shuttles.
4.91 1.13 4 10 22 63 112 124 335
Q12. I have the resources necessary to use automated shuttles. 4.35 1.45 12 34 41 71 77 92 327
Q13. Even when I am in public space, privacy is important for me. 4.42 1.31 10 19 49 83 97 81 337
Q14. I feel comfortable sharing the space of the automated shuttle with fellow travellers
at the same time.
4.84 1.10 3 9 25 74 114 112 335
Q15. People whose opinion I value would like me to use automated shuttles. 3.87 1.46 34 20 50 104 65 43 316
Q16. I intend to share an automated shuttle with around 6–8 fellow travelers who have
the same route like me.
4.63 1.23 11 10 31 83 98 98 331
Q17. People who influence my behavior would think that I should use automated
shuttles.
3.66 1.46 38 25 62 94 61 30 310
Q18. People who are important to me think that I should use automated shuttles. 3.63 1.48 40 28 63 93 56 34 314
Q19.1. – Q19.3. Please rate the discomfort felt for the following maneuvers from a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being uncomfortable and 1 being comfortable.
Q19.1. Braking 1.84 1.04 143 98 34 16 10 – 301
Q19.2. Accelerating 1.73 0.96 156 98 28 11 8 301
Q19.3. Turning 1.74 0.86 144 102 40 10 2 298
Q20. Please rate from a scale of 1 to 5, the amount of effort required to maintain posture/
balance during the ride, 5 being high amount of effort and 1 is no effort at all.
2.64 1.50 94 75 38 39 58 – 304
Q21. If you were carrying out a task during the ride, please rate from a scale of 1 (no
effort at all) to 5 (high amount of effort) the amount of effort required to carry out the
task. The task can be something like reading/writing an email or playing a game.
2.10 1.09 106 94 56 28 8 292
Q22.1. – Q22.6. Please rate the discomfort felt for the following features on a scale from 1 being comfortable to 5 being uncomfortable.
Q22.1. Inside temperature 2.02 1.24 140 77 35 27 19 – 298
Q22.2. Available leg space 1.48 0.77 198 72 25 33–301
Q22.3. Available arm space 1.99 1.04 122 86 63 18 7 296
Q22.4. Seating 2.10 1.09 113 82 70 25 8 298
Q22.5. Vehicle noises 1.70 0.97 176 53 54 10 4 297
Q22.6. Air quality/ventilation 1.94 1.08 129 98 40 19 11 – 297
Q23. I think that automated shuttles would be reliable. 4.45 1.15 2 19 39 90 102 60 312
Q24. I think that my interactions with this type of vehicle would be predictable. 4.54 1.03 1 9 37 88 114 54 303
Q25. I would trust this type of vehicle for my everyday travel. 4.41 1.17 4 15 46 87 100 57 309
Q26. For automated shuttles I would expect a large user acceptance. 4.63 1.16 2 19 52 92 96 48 331
Q27. I plan to abolish my own car in favor of public transport and automated shuttles as
feeder systems as soon as automated shuttles are available.
3.35 1.64 53 43 56 57 41 37 287
Q28. Assuming that I had access to automated shuttles, I predict that I would use them
when they are available.
4.68 1.15 3 14 30 66 115 82 310
Q29. I plan to use automated shuttles in public transport systems when they are
available.
4.86 1.08 1 11 22 65 110 102 311
Q30. I intend to use automated shuttles from the train station or some other public
transport stop to my final destination or vice versa when they are available.
4.93 1.04 1 10 13 68 109 106 307
Q31. Please rate the importance of having a steward inside the vehicle that would
provide manual control if necessary.
3.85 1.67 37 49 31 63 72 60 312
Q32. Please rate the importance of the supervision of a driverless shuttle by an external
control room to provide manual control if necessary.
4.81 1.30 9 15 19 60 90 119 312
Q33. I would feel safe without any type of supervision. 2.92 1.56 76 61 64 55 32 23 311
Q34. Being able to try out automated shuttles was important for me in deciding whether
I should use them in the future or not.
4.31 1.47 16 31 31 72 80 78 308
Q35. I want to be able to use automated shuttles on a trial basis. 4.69 128 9 11 32 63 94 100 309
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in public transport. Trust was further added to the model to tailor it to the context of automated driving technology and
respond to research studies that corroborated the role of trust in determining automated vehicle acceptance. Automated
shuttle sharing was integrated into our model to account for the fact that sharing space with fellow travellers in automated
shuttles will become a relevant part of the user experience of public automated vehicles. The knowledge obtained in this
study can inform and guide the decision-making of practitioners regarding the identification of the determinants and the
development of the corresponding strategies to enhance automated vehicle acceptance.
5.1. Theoretical implications
5.1.1. Ratings of attitudinal questions
Our results have shown that the highest mean rating was obtained for believing that automated shuttles are easy to use.
This finding is not surprising as the role of the respondents who experienced the automated shuttle in the trial was simply to
enter the vehicle and enjoy the ride while being driven. When automated shuttles are part of functional public transport,
using automated shuttles will involve identifying, booking, ticketing, entering, getting seated, and leaving the shuttle. This
implies that the ratings of the perceived ease of use of automated shuttles in trials might differ from the ratings of the per-
Table 1 (continued)
Questionnaire item MSD123456n
Q36. I am more likely to want to use automated shuttles because of being part this pilot
test.
4.09 1.46 20 31 42 78 77 58 306
Q37. I want to be permitted to use automated shuttles on a trial basis long enough to see
what they can do.
4.55 1.37 11 18 37 62 86 94 308
Q38. Using automated shuttles would be compatible with all aspects of my mobility
behavior.
4.22 1.31 12 24 40 97 81 56 310
Q39. I think that using automated shuttles fits well with the way I like to travel. 4.17 1.30 9 28 48 90 83 51 309
Q40. I expect to be able to handle all my mobility trips well with automated shuttles. 3.69 1.50 36 29 67 76 64 37 309
Q41. Using automated shuttles is completely compatible with my current situation. 3.65 1.44 26 49 59 78 68 29 309
Note: Q1–Q6, Q10–Q18, and Q23–Q41 were measured on a six-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree).
Q7 was measured on a six-point scale from 1 (very negative) to 6 (very positive).
Q8 was measured on a six-point scale from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 6 (very satisfied).
Q9 was measured on a five-point scale from 1 (very negative) to 5 (very positive).
Q19 and Q22 were measured on a five-point scale from 1 (comfortable) to 5 (uncomfortable).
Q20–Q21 were measured on a five-point scale from 1 (no effort at all) to 5 (high amount of effort).
Q30–Q31 were measured on a six-point scale from 1 (not at all important) to 6 (very important).
0%
4%
42%
37%
16%
Very negative Rather negative No change Rather positive Very positive
Q9. To what extent has your personal view on automated shuttles changed since
your personal test ride?
Fig. 3. Frequency distribution of the responses for the questionnaire item Q9 ‘‘To what extent has your personal view on automated shuttles changed since your
personal test ride?” on the scale from very negative (1) to very positive (5), n = 336.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
65
ceived ease of use in future operational systems. We recommend future research to revisit the operationalization of the
UTAUT construct ‘effort expectancy’, which is equivalent to the perceived ease of use, as effort expectancy tends to be oper-
ationalized in very generic terms. It could be assessed which associations respondents have with the perceived ease of use of
automated shuttles; whether it relates to the actual use of the automated shuttle, and/or the processes that precede or suc-
ceed the actual use (e.g., booking, ticketing, getting seated, entering & leaving the shuttle).
The lowest mean rating was obtained for feeling safe without any type of supervision of the automated shuttle, suggest-
ing that respondents do not entirely trust the automated shuttle to execute the entire driving task on its own. This finding
corresponds with latest research on trust in automated vehicles (Lee & Kolodge, 2020), which has shown that respondents
generally do not trust automated vehicles. Respondents in our study questioned the presence of a steward in the shuttle,
24%
20% 21%
18%
10%
7%
Strongly
disagree
Moderately
disagree
Slightly
disagree
Slightly agree Moderately
agree
Strongly agree
Q33. I would feel safe without any type of supervision.
Fig. 4. Frequency distribution of the responses for the questionnaire item Q33 ‘‘I would feel safe without any type of supervision” on the scale from strongly
disagree (1) to strongly agree (6), n= 311
12%
16%
10%
20%
23%
19%
Not at all
important
Moderately
unimportant
Slightly
unimportant
Slightly
important
Moderately
important
Very important
Q31. Please rate the importance of having a steward inside the shuttle that would
provide manual control if necessary.
Fig. 5. Frequency distribution of the responses for the questionnaire item Q31 ‘‘Please rate the importance of having a steward inside the shuttle that would
provide manual control if necessary” on the scale from not at all important (1) to very important (6), n = 312.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
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probably because they did not expect physical supervision in an automated vehicle that is supposed to be driverless. They
preferred the supervision of the automated shuttle from an external control room, which corresponds with our study
(Nordhoff et al., 2018), which has identified the supervision from an external control room as the favorite supervision type,
followed by supervision by a human steward and no human supervision. In contrast, Roche-Cerasi (2019) found that 54.9% of
respondents indicated that automated buses should still have drivers, while only 8.5% preferred that buses are monitored
and remotely controlled by a control room operator. Lee et al. (2019) revealed that 71.3% of the respondents reported to
be comfortable with automation levels in which the human driver remains in control, while 27.7% of respondents indicated
to be comfortable with automated driving features that placed the vehicle in control. As the automated shuttle in the present
study was supervised by the steward, future research should be conducted in automated shuttles that are supervised from an
external control room or not at all rather than relying on physical human supervision onboard.
A moderate rating was obtained for abolishing the private car in favour of public transport and automated shuttles feed-
ing public transport. This suggests that while respondents are positive towards the idea of using automated shuttles in public
transport, it is questionable whether automated shuttles in public transport will lead to substantial reductions of the use of
private cars. It is likely that a substantial reduction of private car use can only be realised when automated shuttles provide
all or most of the benefits of the private car (Nordhoff, De Winter, et al., 2019; Nordhoff, Kyriakidis, et al., 2019).
5.1.2. Predictors to behavioural intention
The first structural model examined the main effects of the UTAUT constructs performance expectancy, effort expectancy,
social influence, and facilitating conditions on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles.
In line with several studies on automated vehicle acceptance (Kaur & Rampersad, 2018; Madigan et al., 2016, 2017), per-
formance expectancy was the strongest predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles in the first struc-
tural model. The effect of effort expectancy and facilitating conditions on behavioural intention was not significant, which
corresponds with Madigan et al. (2017) and Zhang et al. (2019), but is contradictory to the studies of Buckley, Kaye, and
Pradhan (2018), Xu et al. (2018), and Wu, Liao, Wang, and Chen (2019). Social influence was not predictive of the behavioural
intention to use automated shuttles, which does not correspond with Madigan et al. (2016, 2017). Social influence failed to
predict behavioural intention in voluntary usage contexts (Venkatesh et al., 2003), such as the intention to use demand-
responsive transport and carsharing systems as well as e-scooter virtual reality services (Fleury, Tom, Jamet, & Colas-
Maheux, 2017; Huang, 2020; König & Grippenkoven, 2020).
When the DIT constructs compatibility and trialability, trust and automated shuttle sharing were added in the second
structural model, compatibility was the strongest predictor of behavioural intention. This implies that individuals who con-
sider automated shuttles compatible with their existing mobility needs and routines are more likely to intend to use auto-
mated shuttles. In contrast, Rahman, Deb, Strawderman, Burch, and Smith (2019) did not find significant effects of
compatibility on automated vehicle acceptance. The effect of performance expectancy was insignificant. This is not in line
with several studies on automated vehicle acceptance (Kaur & Rampersad, 2018; Madigan et al., 2016, 2017), in which per-
formance expectancy was the strongest predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated vehicles. Scientific research
in other domains has shown positive effects of compatibility on behavioural intention, while the effect of performance
expectancy was both significant and non-significant when modelled together with compatibility (Han, Mustonen,
3% 5% 6%
19%
29%
38%
Not at all
important
Moderately
unimportant
Slightly
unimportant
Slightly important Moderately
important
Very important
Q32. Please rate the importance of the supervision of a driverless shuttle by an
external control room to provide manual control if necessary.
Fig. 6. Frequency distribution of the responses for the questionnaire item Q32 ‘‘Please rate the importance of the supervision of a driverless shuttle by an
external control room to provide manual control if necessary” on the scale from not at all important (1) to very important (6), n = 312.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
67
Table 2
Results of confirmatory factor analysis.
Latent variable Observed variable MSD ƛCR AVE
Performance expectancy
(PE)
3.47 0.92 0.77 0.79 0.57
PE1: I think that automated shuttles would be useful for my daily travel. 0.80
PE2: I think that an automated shuttle would be more useful than my existing
form of travel.
0.77
PE3: I think that automated shuttles would be a useful extension of our
current transport systems.
0.63
Effort expectancy (EE) 4.42 0.81 0.71 0.75 0.47
EE1: My interaction with the automated shuttle would be clear and
understandable.
Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
EE2: Learning to use automated shuttles would be easy for me. 0.75
EE3: I would find automated shuttles easy to use. 0.83
Social influence (SI) 3.35 1.19 0.91 0.91 0.77
SI1: People whose opinion I value would like me to use automated shuttles. 0.84
SI2: People who influence my behavior would think that I should use
automated shuttles.
0.89
SI3: People who are important to me think that I should use automated
shuttles.
0.91
Facilitating conditions
(FC)
3.87 0.95 0.80 0.80 0.59
FC1: I have the knowledge necessary to use automated shuttles. 0.81
FC2: Given the resources, opportunities and knowledge it takes to use
automated shuttles, it would be easy for me to use automated shuttles.
0.75
FC3: I have the resources necessary to use automated shuttles. 0.74
Trialability (TRIAL) 3.68 0.89 0.76 0.77 0.45
TRIAL1: Being able to try out automated shuttles was important for me in
deciding whether I should use them in the future or not.
Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
TRIAL2: I want to be able to use automated shuttles on a trial basis. 0.70
TRIAL3: I am more likely to want to use automated shuttles because of being
part this pilot test.
0.66
TRIAL4: I want to be permitted to use automated shuttles on a trial basis long
enough to see what they can do.
0.80
Compatibility with
existing mobility
needs (COM)
3.50 0.95 0.84 0.85 0.59
COM1: Using automated shuttles would be compatible with all aspects of my
mobility behavior.
0.77
COM2: I think that using automated shuttles fit well with the way I like to
travel.
0.83
COM3: I expect to be able to handle all my mobility trips well with automated
shuttle.
0.72
COM4: Using automated shuttles is completely compatible with my current
situation.
0.75
Trust (TRU) 4.03 0.75 0.80 0.79 0.59
TRU1: I think that automated shuttles would be reliable. 0.73
TRU2: I think that my interactions with this type of vehicle would be
predictable.
0.88
TRU3: I would trust this type of vehicle for my everyday travel. 0.67
TRU4: I would feel safe without any type of supervision. Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
Automated shuttle
sharing (ASS)
4.11 0.83 0.65 0.72 0.39
ASS1: Even when I am in public space, privacy is important for me. Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
ASS2: I feel comfortable sharing the space of the automated shuttle with
fellow travelers at the same time.
0.59
ASS3: I intend to share an automated shuttle with around 6–8 fellow travelers
who have the same route like me.
0.92
Behavioural intention (BI) 4.24 0.83 0.88 0.90 0.73
BI1: For automated shuttles, I would expect a large user acceptance. Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
BI2: I plan to abolish my own car in favor of public transport and automated
shuttles as feeder systems as soon as automated vehicles are available.
Omitted from the
analysis due to factor
loading < 0.6
BI3: Assuming that I had access to automated shuttles, I predict that I would
use them when they are available.
0.84
BI4: I plan to use automated shuttles in public transport systems when they
are available.
0.92
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
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Seppänen, & Kallio, 2006; Ifinedo, 2012; Schaper & Pervan, 2007). A data-driven explanation for the non-significant effect of
performance expectancy in our study lies in the existence of some degree of redundancy between performance expectancy
and compatibility as shown by the moderate relationship between performance expectancy and compatibility. A theory-
driven explanation is that performance expectancy involves a more general appraisal of the usefulness of technology without
necessarily linking usefulness to the mobility lives of individuals. Compatibility, on the other hand, has a direct linkage with
individuals’ mobility routines: In order to make the use of automated shuttles compatible with individual’s mobility routines
and practices, individuals may need to make significant changes in their mobility behavior. Agarwal and Prasad (1998) argue
that of the constructs perceived usefulness and ease of use, compatibility is the only construct that requires individuals to
change their behavior, which renders the examination of this construct highly important. Note that compatibility is rooted in
the construct facilitating conditions (Venkatesh et al., 2003). We propose to treat compatibility with existing mobility needs
and practices to be conceptually distinct from facilitating conditions. Facilitating conditions is defined as the degree to which
infrastructure exists to support the use of the system (Venkatesh et al., 2003), in our case automated shuttles. This concep-
tualization, in our view, does not address the compatibility of automated shuttles with the mobility patterns of individuals.
We encourage future research to investigate more closely the similarity between compatibility and performance expectancy,
and examine whether these constructs can be merged. A hypothesis tentatively derived from this finding is that compatibility
Table 2 (continued)
Latent variable Observed variable MSD ƛCR AVE
BI5: I intend to use automated shuttles from the train station or some other
public transport stop to my final destination or vice versa when they are
available.
0.80
Notes: ƛ(i.e., lambda) = Loading of the observed variable on the latent variable.
(Cronbach alpha) and CR (construct reliability) = Internal consistency measure defined as the extent to which the observed variables measure the same
construct on the basis of their interrelationships.
AVE = The average variance extracted in the observed variable accounted for by the latent variables.
Table 3
Inter-construct correlation matrix.
Construct PE EE SI FC TRU COM TRIAL ASS BI
PE 0.75
EE 0.39 0.69
SI 0.44 0.22 0.88
FC 0.24 0.46 0.14 0.76
TRU 0.41 0.32 0.35 0.30 0.77
COM 0.59 0.18 0.31 0.02 0.40 0.77
TRIAL 0.26 0.08 0.24 0.06 0.12 0.40 0.67
ASS 0.21 0.27 0.41 0.17 0.29 0.24 0.19 0.62
BI 0.55 0.35 0.32 0.25 0.46 0.50 0.22 0.34 0.85
Note: The diagonal values represent the square root of the average variance extracted (AVE).
PE = Performance expectancy, EE = Effort expectancy, SI = Social influence, FC = Facilitating conditions, TRU = Trust, COM = Compatibility, TRIAL = Triala-
bility, ASS = Automated shuttle sharing, BI = Behavioural intention.
Table 4
Results of structural equation modeling, hypotheses, standardized path coefficients (b), standard errors, p-values (p), model fit parameters, and variance
explained (R
2
).
Hypotheses Standardized path coefficients Standard errors p-values CFI RMSEA SRMR
v
2
/df R
2
Supported?
First structural model
H1: PE ?BI 0.489 0.070 0.000 0.967 0.060 0.051 1.96 0.397 Yes
H2: EE ?BI 0.154 0.136 0.088 No
H3: SI ?BI 0.079 0.054 0.233 No
H4: FC ?BI 0.031 0.066 0.687 No
Second structural model
H1: PE ?BI 0.186 0.136 0.115 0.942 0.053 0.052 1.73 0.485 No
H2: EE ?BI 0.081 0.252 0.358 No
H3: SI ?BI 0.052 0.066 0.460 No
H4: FC ?BI 0.082 0.083 0.313 No
H5: COM ?BI 0.280 0.117 0.017 Yes
H6: TRIAL ?BI 0.043 0.091 0.566 No
H7: TRU ?BI 0.180 0.102 0.026 Yes
H8: ASS ?BI 0.177 0.118 0.011 Yes
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
69
may even substitute performance expectancy as the strongest predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shut-
tles. We invite scientific scholars to examine this further.
Trust was the second-strongest positive predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles in public trans-
port. This implies that individuals who trust automated shuttles are more likely to intend to use them. Our finding corre-
sponds with research on the role of trust for automated vehicle acceptance (Choi & Ji, 2015; Xu et al., 2018; Zhang et al.,
2019). Note that trust bears a close conceptual resemblance to the construct perceived safety, which was identified as
key driver of attitudes towards automated vehicles and automated vehicle acceptance (Garidis et al., 2020; Motamedi
et al., 2020; Xu et al., 2018; Zhang et al., 2019; Zoellick, Kuhlmey, Schenk, Schindel, & Blüher, 2019). Studies examining opin-
ions towards trust and perceived safety without physically exposing respondents to automated vehicles in quasi-naturalistic
settings may produce biased estimates. In these studies, respondents’ opinions may be based on information obtained by
mass media, specialized literature, and entertainment sources. We recommend future research to unravel the nature of
the relationship between perceived safety and trust, and investigate differences in the ratings measuring perceived safety
and trust across research settings that vary the exposure rate to automated vehicles.
Automated shuttle sharing was the third-strongest positive predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shut-
tles. This suggests that individuals who are willing to share space with strangers are more likely to intend to use automated
shuttles. This finding corresponds with Bhat (2018) who found that the success of shared automated vehicles hinges on the
willingness of travellers to share rides with strangers, where privacy-sensitivity reduced the likelihood to share a ride in an
automated vehicle, and with Morales Sarriera et al. (2017) who have shown that travellers are concerned about taking a ride
with unfamiliar people due to a lack of trust, security and privacy concerns. In Nordhoff, De Winter, et al. (2019), Nordhoff,
Kyriakidis, et al. (2019), Nordhoff, Madigan, Happee, Van Arem, and Merat (2020), Nordhoff, Stapel, Van Arem, and Happee
(2020) and Motamedi et al. (2020), respondents considered sharing the automated vehicle with fellow travellers an uncom-
fortable aspect of automated vehicle use. In line with Bhat (2018), we encourage future research to identify the population
segments that differ in their propensity to use shared automated shuttles.
5.2. Practical implications
The findings obtained in the present study yield important practical implications for policy makers, vehicle designers and
operators. Respondents indicated to not feel entirely safe in a driverless shuttle, favoring the supervision of the shuttle from
an external room to a lack of supervision. The study of Brell, Philipsen, and Ziefle (2019) revealed that respondents preferred
the option of being able to control the actions of an autonomous vehicle at all times as it was difficult for them to envision a
complete surrender of control to the technology. Woldeamanuel and Nguyen (2018), who studied the perceived benefits and
concerns of millennials versus non-millennials towards autonomous vehicles, found that 95% of millennials were most con-
cerned about riding in a vehicle without driver controls such as a steering wheel, brake and gas pedals. This finding implies
that increasing the perceived level of control of passengers of automated shuttles will be a key factor in automated vehicle
acceptance. This can be achieved by displays inside shuttles visualising the person/s in the external control room that remo-
tely control/s the shuttle, and that can be called by passengers for all sorts of technical and non-technical questions during
the ride using a button inside the shuttle or a smartphone app. As shown by our accompanied test ride study (Nordhoff,
Madigan, et al., 2020; Nordhoff, Stapel, et al., 2020), a second strategy is to equip automated shuttles with displays showing
the current and future actions of automated shuttles and the external environment (e.g., road users in close proximity) in
order to increase the predictability of the shuttle behaviour for passengers. A third strategy is to implement emergency stop
buttons inside shuttles (see Nordhoff, Madigan, et al., 2020; Nordhoff, Stapel, et al., 2020).
Compatibility exhibited the strongest effects on behavioural intention. This implies that policy makers and public trans-
port companies should design strategies to make automated shuttles compatible with the existing mobility needs of indi-
viduals. This can be done in multiple ways. First, vehicle manufacturers and public transport companies can make the use
of automated shuttles compatible with the use of public transport systems, implying that using automated shuttles is famil-
iar for public transport users (see Chan et al., 2010). Second, policy makers and public transport companies could identify
individuals who consider automated shuttles compatible with their existing mobility routines, and who have a higher level
of technology openness and enthusiasm (see Chan et al., 2010). These people can then serve as starting point to introduce the
technology into the market and ‘‘sell” automated shuttles among their peers.
Furthermore, as suggested by our model, the individual’s level of trust in automated shuttles should be enhanced, and the
benefits of automated shuttles (e.g., increases in efficiency, comfort and safety of public transport systems and livability of
cities) more effectively advertised by the social (analog and digital) networks of individuals, and governmental education
campaigns. Public trials with automated shuttles can be implemented in order to make the public familiar with automated
shuttles, educate them about their expected benefits and risks (see Venkatesh, 2006), and how to interact with these vehicles
as vulnerable road users and human drivers (Kaye et al., 2019; Pettigrew & Cronin, 2019). Brown, Massey, Montoya-Weiss,
and Burkman (2002) have argued that increases in the knowledge of the public about the technology, the greater the poten-
tial impact of the importance of the opinions of others, which, in turn, may promote the use of the technology. These activ-
ities can be part of a sophisticated expectation management system to align the expectations of the public to the real
technical capabilities of automated shuttles, and design interventions to make the use of automated shuttles safe, comfort-
able and acceptable.
S. Nordhoff, V. Malmsten, B. van Arem et al. Transportation Research Part F 78 (2021) 58–73
70
Automated shuttle sharing was identified as a positive predictor of behavioural intention. Vehicle manufacturers and
public transport companies should consider the deployment of smaller-sized vehicles to mitigate privacy concerns and sim-
ulate the ‘‘private cocoon” effect that has contributed to the attractiveness of the private car (Fraedrich & Lenz, 2016;
Fraedrich, Beiker, & Lenz, 2015; Puda
¯ne et al., 2019; Sovacool & Axsen, 2018). A second strategy is that public transport com-
panies and vehicle manufacturers could alleviate potential safety, security and privacy concerns by the installation of cam-
eras inside the shuttle and at the station. Gurumurthy and Kockelman (2020) found that only 8% and 4% of respondents
indicated to be willing to share an automated vehicle with a stranger during the night if the stranger has no criminal record,
and if information about the strangers is given ahead of time, respectively. Thus, sharing information about fellow travelers
via a smartphone application ahead of the trip could be a practical option to mitigate concerns about sharing rides with
strangers. A fourth strategy can encompass the promotion of social network-based services, which could alleviate privacy
and security concerns in automated vehicles (Bhat, 2018).
5.3. Limitations
The results of the present study have to be interpreted with regards to its caveats. First, the automated shuttle operated at
a limited speed in a controlled environment, which could bias the safety and trust perceptions of respondents. Second, the
sample was not representative of the general population but represents a convenience sample that consists of more highly-
educated and tech-savvy individuals. Their level of knowledge and excitement about automated vehicles may be higher than
in the general population. We recommend future research to use more representative samples. Third, we can’t also rule out
social desirability effects as respondents may have provided their ratings of the questionnaire items in accordance with their
general beliefs about automated shuttles despite having experienced automated shuttles, and to please the automated shut-
tle team. Fourth, method effects are also likely in the sense that items with a similar wording received a similar rating by
respondents. Fifth, respondents took a ride in the automated shuttle alone, and were asked to reflect on the use of these vehi-
cles as feeders in public transport without these vehicles operating as feeders. Thus, they were asked to rate a hypothetical
scenario that has not formed an integral part of their lives yet. Sixth, respondents physically experienced the shuttle only
once for a limited amount of time. This may be insufficient for establishing stable attitudes.
5.4. Final conclusions
In conclusion, our questionnaire study showed that respondents considered automated shuttles in public transport easy
to use, but most did not feel safe without any type of human supervision. They favored the supervision of the shuttle from an
external control room to a human steward onboard, and no supervision. A moderate mean rating for planning to abolish the
private car in favor of public transport and automated shuttles feeding public transport suggests that respondents are unde-
cided about whether automated public transport will lead to substantial reduction in their use of the private car. The effect of
performance expectancy on the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles became insignificant with the addition of
the DIT constructs compatibility and trialability, automated shuttle sharing and trust to the model. Instead, compatibility
was the strongest predictor of the behavioural intention to use automated shuttles. We recommend future research to exam-
ine the importance of compatibility for automated vehicle acceptance, and assess whether compatibility can substitute per-
formance expectancy as strong and robust predictor of automated vehicle acceptance.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Sina Nordhoff: Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Resources, Data
curation, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing, Visualization, Supervision, Project administration, Funding
acquisition. Victor Malmsten: Writing - review & editing. Bart van Arem: Writing - review & editing, Supervision. Peng
Liu: Writing - review & editing. Riender Happee: Writing - review & editing, Supervision.
Appendix A. Supplementary material
When the study is accepted for publication, the dataset will be published on the following website: https://researchdata.
4tu.nl/en/. The script to perform the statistical analyses can be found in the README file. Supplementary data to this article
can be found online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2021.01.001.
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