To buy or not to buy? Predicting willingness to pay for automated vehicles based on public opinion

Mitchell L. Cunningham*, Michael A. Regan, Selena A. Ledger, Joanne M. Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Public acceptability of automated vehicles (AVs) is critical to gauge in order to understand the factors that are likely to encourage drivers to utilise the technology and realise its predicted safety and other benefits. Willingness to pay (WTP) is a particularly important facet of acceptability as AVs will only penetrate the market in so much as people are willing to purchase it. However, there currently exists a lack of research that has examined how attitudes and opinions towards AVs may impact WTP for the technology. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the predictive utility of AV-related attitudes and opinions in identifying individuals who are, and those who are not, willing to pay for the technology. The study employed a sample of 6133 Australian and New Zealand respondents who responded to a comprehensive online survey (including over 50 items specific targeting aspects of AV acceptability). Survey items gauged attitudes and opinions closely related to the acceptability of AVs including (but not limited to) (a) perceived benefits and concerns, (b) likely conditions of use, (c) engagement in secondary activities when supported by automation, and (d) WTP for the technology. Results showed that attitudes and opinions relating to perceived benefits, level of comfort with an AV undertaking certain driving functions, and engagement in secondary activities were among the strongest predictors of WTP, over and above key sociodemographic variables (e.g., age, salary), while the weakest were associated with awareness of AV technologies and perceived concerns. As such, the study makes a novel contribution to the existing literature by highlighting specific attitudes and opinions that may be crucial to consider when attempting to better understand, and predict, peoples’ WTP for AV technology prior to system use. Given this, we believe the information derived from this study will be useful for industry and government stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-438
Number of pages21
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • public opinion
  • acceptance
  • acceptability
  • automated vehicles
  • autonomous vehicles
  • willingness to pay


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