A Study on the Choice of Self-Driving Rides for Elderly People

Li Qi Ye, Oliver Shyr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


According to the definition given by the United Nations, the aging society is a society of which the proportion of 65-year-old and above is over 7%. However, this proportion in Taiwan has already reached 14% in 2018 and is even estimated to exceed 20% by the year of 2025, leading Taiwan into a super-aged society. The dependency on motorcycle, which is the dominant transportation mode for Taiwanese, is one of the key factors affecting the use of public transportation. Comparing to the cheap and easy-to-park scooters, city bus with very few frequencies and longer journey time is often the least preferred mode of travel for Tainan and Kaohsiung commuters. As a result, the captive users for bus are usually the elderly people, students, and new immigrant workers. Due to the unpopularity of city bus, many elder people in Taiwan became highly dependent users for scooters. Consequently, accident rate for elderly people is much higher compared to other user groups. To improve the service quality and to reduce the labor costs for city bus operations, Kaohsiung and Tainan recently introduced pilot projects regarding autonomous minibus services to communities in the rural townships and the neighborhoods nearby high-speed rail stations. The aims for these projects are to provide an efficient and safe public transportation to meet the needs for transfer trips and nursing care in these communities. Our study seeks to learn about the acceptance for driverless minibus among elderly people. Data regarding travel habits and modal choice preferences were collected from survey questionnaires through our targeted research groups in Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Taipei. And a stated preference demand model was calibrated using the data. Next, we estimate the potential demand for self-driving minibus services and explore the main factors affecting users' preference. In conclusion, we find that in some scenarios, the driverless DRTS with on-board assistants will be even more popular than scooters and become the most preferred mode of travel. On the other hand, if on-board assistant was absent, then the driverless DRTS will lose more than half of the potential elderly users. The average proportion for the elderly to take driverless DRTS is about 36% from all four scenarios, making driverless DRTS to be the second most popular mode followed by the first-place scooter. Meanwhile, the elderly people in Kaohsiung and Tainan are more likely to take driverless DRTS compared to the elderly people in Taipei. One of the main reasons is that Taipei has much better service quality for rapid transit and bus compared to Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransportation Safety and Emerging Technologies
EditorsHeng Wei
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784484876
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventInternational Conference on Transportation and Development 2023, ICTD 2023 - Austin, United States
Duration: 2023 Jun 142023 Jun 17

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Transportation and Development 2023: Transportation Safety and Emerging Technologies - Selected Papers from the International Conference on Transportation and Development 2023


ConferenceInternational Conference on Transportation and Development 2023, ICTD 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


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