Integrating connected autonomous shuttle buses as an alternative for public transport – A simulation-based study

Zheng Xu, Nan Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The concept of connected autonomous shuttles is gaining recognition for its potential to revolutionize traditional public transport by offering a safer and more consistent travel experience. Despite technological advancements facilitating their integration into current traffic systems, research in this area is still exploratory, with public acceptance and trust in autonomous technology posing significant challenges. This paper contributes to the field by validating the benefits of deploying connected autonomous shuttles and examining their impact on ridership via an immersive experience. We introduce a VR-enabled co-simulation strategy to analyze the effects of replacing a traditional bus service line with connected shuttles in Melbourne, Australia. Our case study results reveal that while autonomous shuttles can reduce travel time because of optimized vehicle motion, their traffic efficiency is affected by fleet size, with the optimal fleet size identified as four in the study area. Furthermore, we observed a mismatch between participants’ stated intentions and actual boarding behavior, indicating that the attractive appearance of this novel mobility mode may not necessarily enhance ridership. Our work offers an alternative approach to simulation studies in futuristic public transportation and complement existing literature in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100133
Number of pages16
JournalMultimodal Transportation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Bus ridership
  • Connected autonomous shuttles
  • Public transportation
  • Simulation study
  • Virtual reality

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