Use of Shared Automated Vehicles for First-Mile Last-Mile Service: Micro-Simulation of Rail-Transit Connections in Austin, Texas

Yantao Huang, Kara Kockelman, Venu Garikapati, Lei Zhu, Stanley Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus Citations


Shared fleets of fully automated vehicles (SAVs) coupled with real-time ride-sharing to and from transit stations are of interest to cities and nations in delivering more sustainable transportation systems. By providing first-mile last-mile (FMLM) connections to key transit stations, SAVs can replace walk-to-transit, drive-to-transit, and drive-only trips. Using the SUMO (Simulation of Urban MObility) toolkit, this paper examines mode splits, wait times, and other system features by micro-simulating two fleets of SAVs providing an FMLM ride-sharing service to 10% of central Austin’s trip-makers near five light-rail transit stations. These trips either start or end within two geofenced areas (called automated mobility districts [AMDs]), and travel time and wait time feedbacks affect mode choices. With rail service headways of 15 min, and 15 SAVs serving FMLM connections to and from each AMD, simulations predict that 3.7% of the person-trip-making will shift from driving alone to transit use in a 3 mi × 6 mi central Austin area. During a 3-h morning peak, 30 SAVs serve about 10 person-trips each (to or from the stations), with 3.4 min average wait time for SAVs, and an average vehicle occupancy of 0.74 persons (per SAV mile-traveled), as a result of empty SAV driving between riders. Sensitivity analysis of transit headways (from 5 to 20 min) and fleet sizes (from 5 to 20 vehicles in each AMD) shows an increase in FMLM mode share with more frequent transit service and larger fleet size, but total travel time served as the biggest determinant in trip-makers’ mode share.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)135-149
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2020.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-76787


  • automated mobility district
  • first-mile last-mile service
  • microscopic simulation
  • shared automated vehicles


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