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Autonomous vehicles in the Czech Republic – impact on infrastructure, mobility, safety, and society

Introduction

Autonomous vehicles are not a regular part of traffic yet. However, the mere possibility of autonomous vehicles being involved in road transport encourages interest as well as concern among the general public. As a result, stakeholders from both public and private sector focus on perceptions and attitudes related to autonomous vehicles. After all, psychological factors such as trust will play an important role in accepting and adopting this new technology (Becker & Axhausen, 2017).

We can ask questions such as: Could you imagine that you would use an autonomous vehicle for your trip to work? Do you think that wide use of autonomous vehicles would come with benefits such as fewer traffic congestions? Are you afraid of the possibility of autonomous vehicles being hacked? Do you perceive autonomous trucks as something disturbing? At the same time, could you imagine driving an autonomous vehicle in areas with dedicated lanes such as airport or hospital? What would you do, if you would not need to drive? Working? Sleeping? Alternatively, would yourather observe traffic?

Numerous studies have tried to find the answers to these questions. However, most of the studies addressing public opinion on autonomous vehicles collected data on online samples (Gkartzonikas & Gkritza, 2017). Consequently, findings made on such samples of respondents may besystematically different from their populations, e.g. the general public. Moreover, our knowledge related to the public opinion on autonomous vehicles is rather limited in some parts of the European Union, such as in the Czech Republic. Thus, in 2017, the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic and Transport Research Centre surveyed a random sample of persons older than15 years representing the Czech public.