Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Graduate Research Assistant Soheil Sohrabi recently published the research paper “Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on Public Health: A Conceptual Model and Policy Recommendations” in Sustainable Cites and Society. The paper’s authors also include Haneen Khreis, associate research scientist in TTI’s Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health (CARTEEH), and Dominique Lord, Professor and A.P. and Florence Wiley Faculty Fellow in TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety.
The researchers developed a conceptual model to understand possible autonomous vehicle (AV) impacts on public health. The findings demonstrated that AVs can contribute to public health through 17 negative pathways (e.g., losing transportation-related jobs) and eight positive pathways (e.g., providing access to needed services for more people). Seven pathways — such as the effect on physical activity after AV deployment — remain unclear as to their impacts. Policymakers can use the research to make better-informed decisions regarding AVs and public health. It can also help educate the public and health sectors about AVs’ potential benefits and negative impacts.
Sohrabi worked on this research while he was a graduate research assistant at CARTEEH. He’s currently working in TTI’s Roadway Safety Division and is a Ph.D. student in Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Sohrabi continues working on this topic, including through a project that’s part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to quantify safety and health concerns related to implementing AV technologies.
This story was originally published in another form by Texas A&M University Engineering News, Oct. 12, 2020.