Texas study estimates that CAVs could have a $27,000 net benefit per vehicle with a 90 percent market penetration.
Research describes the potential crash, congestion, and other impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in Texas, and provides initial monetary estimates of those impacts, at various levels of market penetration.
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United States

An Assessment of Autonomous Vehicles: Traffic Impacts and Infrastructure Needs—Final Report

Summary Information

This research report provided a systematic synthesis of contemporary smart driving technologies, including their technological maturity and their potential impacts.


In June 2015 a Texas-wide survey was conducted using the Qualtric web-based survey tool. A total of 1,364 survey responses were completed and researchers used the data to project a framework of vehicle fleets in Texas (2015 to 2045) including the potential adoption of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies under different technology pricing scenarios (1%, 5%, and 10% annual price-reduction rates). Within the surveys, respondents were asked several anticipatory questions including their vehicle history as well as their future vehicle plans, their technology preferences (buying/selling their vehicles or simply adding new technologies to their current vehicles), and their comfort and willingness to pay (WTP) towards connected and autonomous vehicles.


Results were used to help traffic engineers, planners, and policy makers forecast long term (year 2015-2045) adoption of these technologies under three different technology acquisition-cost scenarios (i.e., 1%, 5%, and 10% annual price-reduction rates).

A research team from the University of Texas at Austin Center for Transportation Research set out to analyze the future impacts of CAVs across Texas.

The benefits from CAV were calculated on a per vehicle basis for comparing the cost of automation and connectivity capabilities. In this research, a baseline of Texas’ existing 23.88 million vehicles was assumed to estimate these figures, though the true number of vehicles may likely increase along with Texas’ population in future years. An 11.4 year average CAV life span was also assumed for calculating net present value, based on current data for conventional vehicles. Added purchase price costs for automation and connectivity capabilities (on top of base vehicle costs) were assumed to be $10,000 at the 10% market penetration level, $5,000 with 50% market penetration and just $3,000 in added cost once CAV market penetration levels reach 90%. A 10% discount rate is also assumed, which is higher than the 7% rate required for federal TIGER grant applications, to account for the greater uncertainty surrounding CAVs.

The table below summarizes the various safety and mobility benefits that may be gained across Texas’ transportation system, while comparing them to anticipated added CAV costs, from an order-of-magnitude perspective.

Summary of Anticipated CAV Impacts across Texas


CAV Market Penetration




Benefits Congestion reduction ($/Veh/Year)




Economic crash savings ($/Veh/Year)




Comprehensive crash savings ($/Veh/Year)




Productivity and leisure ($/Veh/Year)




Sum of benefits ($/Veh/Year)




Costs Price of automation and connectivity capabilities ($/Veh)




Net Present Values (using comprehensive crash cost savings) ($/Veh)




Benefit-Cost Ratios (using comprehensive crash cost savings)





  • Results from this project suggest that more than 2,400 lives could be saved each year on Texas roadways by the time 90% market penetration is reached, with over $14 billion in economic savings, or more than $62 billion in comprehensive crash costs (a 75% total reduction in comprehensive crash costs). In terms of cost savings per driver that shifts to CAV operation, around $1,357 per year in added productivity and leisure time can be gained.]
  • When comparing these potential impacts over the life of a CAV against the anticipated costs of communication and automation, the net benefits of CAVs appear quite strong. At the 10% market penetration level, privately owned and operated CAVs could have a net present value (NPV) of nearly $13,960 per vehicle, increasing to an estimated value of $27,000 with 90% market penetration.


An Assessment of Autonomous Vehicles: Traffic Impacts and Infrastructure Needs—Final Report

An Assessment of Autonomous Vehicles: Traffic Impacts and Infrastructure Needs—Final Report
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Kockelman, Kara et al.
Texas Department of Transportation

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