Despite growing interest in low-speed automated shuttles, pilot deployments have only just begun in a few places in the U.S., and there is a lack of studies that estimate the impacts of a widespread deployment of automated shuttles designed to supplement existing transit networks. This project estimated the potential impacts of automated shuttles based on a deployment scenario generated for a sample geographic area: Santa Clara County, California. The project identified sample deployment markets within Santa Clara County using a GIS screening exercise; tested the mode share changes of an automated shuttle deployment scenario using BEAM, an open-source beta software developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to run traffic simulations with MATSim; elaborated the model outputs within the R environment; and then estimated the related impacts. The main findings have been that the BEAM software, despite still being in its beta version, was able to model a scenario with the automated shuttle service: this report illustrates the potential of the software and the lessons learned. Regarding transportation aspects, the model estimated automated shuttle use throughout the county, with a higher rate of use in the downtown San José area. The shuttles would be preferred mainly by people who had been using gasoline-powered ride hail vehicles for A-to-B trips or going to the bus stop, as well as walking trips and a few car trips directed to public transport stops. As a result, the shuttles contributed to a small decrease in emissions of air pollutants, provided a competitive solution for short trips, and increased the overall use of the public transport system. The shuttles also presented a solution for short night trips—mainly between midnight and 2 am—when there are not many options for moving between points A and B. The conclusion is that the automated shuttle service is a good solution in certain contexts and can increase public transit ridership overall.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transit Issues

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



Electric vehicles, Intelligent vehicles, Transit accessibility, On-demand transit, Micro transit, Sustainable transportation, Transit oriented development


Sustainability | Transportation