Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on Parking and Congestion

Sina Bahrami, PhD thesis, Civil Engineering, 2019
Professor Matthew J. Roorda, Supervisor


Although Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) will enhance mobility and safety, their impact on travel behavior and congestion is not clear yet. This is mainly because the promises and opportunities associated with AVs depend immensely on policies and regulations.

For instance, on one hand, AVs can promote car/ride sharing by decreasing its cost. On the other hand, the reduced cost of car sharing might nullify associated benefits if users shift travel mode from public transit to car/ride sharing, and zero-occupant trips.

Sina Bahrami's key finds map and chart

Hence, policies and regulations are extremely important because they can maximize the benefits of AVs while minimizing their negative consequences.

This research examines the impact of AVs on parking and congestion and provides managerial insights to help government agencies and policymakers:

  • Autonomous vehicle parking facilities can decrease the need for parking space by an average of 62% and a maximum of 87%. This revitalization of space that was previously used for parking can be socially beneficial if car-parks are converted into commercial and residential land-uses.
  • AVs will also change where travellers park. AV users can exit from their vehicle and send their vehicle to park in a strategic location. AVs can park farther from the destination in cheaper parking lots, or cruise for the whole activity time. While the same parking price across all the locations would exacerbate congestion by motivating more AVs to cruise, a toll for zero-occupant AVs would decrease congestion.

Access via Tspace / U of T Libraries: Abstract and full thesis “Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on Parking and Congestion.”

Supervisor contact information

Professor Matthew J. Roorda
Tel: 416-978-5976