Future of Transportation Automation and Energy

Transportation affects major environmental, economic, and equity outcomes, and our research informs decisions about emerging transportation energy and automation technologies. Our students are conducting systems analysis and simulation on how the transition to alternative fuels and automation affects greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and air pollution. We are also assessing how automated vehicles affect crashes, miles traveled, traffic congestion, infrastructure costs, and other outcomes. Our 2008 paper helped define modern plug-in vehicle life cycle assessment broadly across the field, and our 2014 report on autonomous vehicles and public policy helped shape future research directions in this field. Our 2018 paper assessed the life cycle impacts of drone package delivery, and our group continues to examine the impact of automation and advanced technology on the transportation sector.

One journal paper on autonomous vehicles received the Elsevier Atlas Best Paper Award, for the best paper across all of their 2,600 journals. Prof. Samaras was also a guest on 99% Invisible, NPR's Radio Times, Knowledge@Wharton, and The Energy Transition Show discussing the implications of vehicle automation.

Selected Research Outputs

  • Journal Paper: Ward. J., Michalek, J.J., Azevedo, I.L., Samaras, C., Ferraria, P. (2019). Effects of on-demand ridesourcing on vehicle ownership, fuel consumption, vehicle miles traveled, and emissions per capita in U.S. states, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. [Open Access Version].

  • Journal Paper: Khan, A., Harper, C., Hendrickson, C., Samaras C. (2019). Net-social benefits and Net-private benefits of some existing vehicle crash avoidance technologies. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 125, 207-216. [Journal Version] [Open Access Version]

  • Journal Paper: Whiston, M.M., Azevedo, I., Litster, S., Whitefoot, K.S., Samaras, C., Whitacre, J.F. (2019). Expert Assessments Of The Cost And Expected Future Performance Of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells For Vehicles, Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.1804221116. [Journal Version]

  • Op-Ed: Prof. Samaras wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post on electric vehicles, as part of a series of policy ideas to address climate change

  • Journal Paper: Harper, C.D., Hendrickson, C.T., Samaras, C. (2018). Exploring the Economic, Environmental, and Travel Implications of Changes in Parking Choices due to Driverless Vehicles: An Agent Based Simulation Approach. ASCE Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 144(4), 04018043. [Journal Version] [Open Access Version] [Summary Magazine Article]

  • Journal Paper: Stolaroff, J.K., Samaras, C., O'Neill, E.R., Lubers, A., Mitchell, L.S., Ceperley, D. (2018). Energy use and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of drones for commercial package delivery, Nature Communications. 10.1038/s41467-017-02411-5. [Open Access Version] [Summary Magazine Article]

  • Journal Paper: Vasebi, S., Hayeri, Y. M., Samaras, C., Hendrickson, C.T. (2018). Low-Level Automated Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies Provide Opportunities to Reduce Fuel Consumption, Transportation Research Record, 18-06702. [Journal Version]

  • Congressional Staff Briefing: Samaras, C. (2017). Incorporating Connected and Automated Vehicles Into Infrastructure. Congressional Robotics Caucus, Rayburn House Office Building, October 21, 2017.

  • Journal Paper: Harper, C., Mangones, S., Hendrickson, C., Samaras, C. (2016). Estimating Potential Increases in Travel with Autonomous Vehicles for the Non-Driving, Elderly and People with Travel-Restrictive Medical Conditions. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Volume 72, November 2016, Pages 1–9. *Paper selected from among all the papers in Elsevier's 2,600 journals for the Elsevier Atlas Award in December 2016. [Open Access Version]

  • Journal Paper: Harper, C., Hendrickson, C., Samaras C. (2016). Cost and Benefit Estimates of Partially-Automated Vehicle Collision Avoidance Technologies. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 95, 104-115. [Journal Version] [Open Access Pre-Print]

  • Journal Paper: Mersky, A.C., Sprei, F., Samaras, C., & Qian, Z. S. (2016). Effectiveness of incentives on electric vehicle adoption in Norway. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 46, 56-68. [Journal Version]

  • Journal Paper: Mersky A.C., Samaras C. (2016). Fuel Economy Testing of Autonomous Vehicles. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 65, 31–48. [Journal Version] [Open Access Pre-Print]

  • RAND Report: Anderson, J., Kalra, N., Stanley, K., Sorensen, P., Samaras, C., Oluwatola, O. Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, RR-443-RC, 2014. [Download]

  • Book Chapter: Patwardhan, A., Foran, T., Raven, R., Samaras, C., Smith, A., Verbong, G., Walawalkar, R., Azevedo, I.L., Patankar, M., Rao, A., 2012. “Transitions in Energy Systems”. In Global Energy Assessment: Toward a Sustainable Future. L. Gomez-Echeverri, T.B. Johansson, N. Nakicenovic, A. Patwardhan, (eds.), IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. [Download]

  • Magazine Article: Michalek, J.J., Chester, M., Samaras C., 2012. Getting the Most Out of Electric Vehicle Subsidies, Issues in Science and Technology. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., Summer 2012. [Web]

  • Journal Paper: Mashayekh, Y., Jaramillo, P., Samaras, C., Hendrickson, C. T., Blackhurst, M., MacLean, H. L., & Matthews, H. S. (2012). Potentials for sustainable transportation in cities to alleviate climate change impacts. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(5), 2529-2537. [Journal Version]

  • Journal Paper: Michalek, J. J., Chester, M., Jaramillo, P., Samaras, C., Shiau, C. S. N., & Lave, L. B. (2011). Valuation of plug-in vehicle life-cycle air emissions and oil displacement benefits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(40), 16554-16558. [Open Access Version]

  • Journal Paper: Jaramillo, P., Samaras, C., Wakeley, H., & Meisterling, K. (2009). Greenhouse gas implications of using coal for transportation: Life cycle assessment of coal-to-liquids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen pathways. Energy Policy, 37(7), 2689-2695. [Journal Version]

  • Journal Paper: Samaras, C., & Meisterling, K. (2008). Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from plug-in hybrid vehicles: implications for policy. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(9), 3170-3176. [Open Access Version]