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Negative Spillovers of New Technologies: The Unequal Burden of Congestion Created by Autonomous Vehicles

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Document pages: 26 pages

Abstract: Autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies lower the private cost of driving, leading to induced demand for road use at peak times. Because adoption is likely to skew towards higher-income commuters, we show that the congestion externalities exacerbated by adoption are likely to be experienced disproportionately by lower-income drivers. Unless proactive policies like congestion pricing or improved access to public transit or ride-share are simultaneously implemented, autonomous vehicles are likely to make lower-income commuters actively worse off in congested cities where many higher-income commuters currently take public transit.

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