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Shared Automated Vehicles – Research & Assessment

The SARA1 project, run together with the Autopiloten project aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding about how Automated Vehicles (AV) can contribute to and complement public transport.


The technical development AVs is lifting off and expected to grow. AVs are considered to provide a great potential to not only cut operational costs but also create and contribute to new services offered to users. Several pilots and initiatives are planned in Sweden and especially within the Stockholm area. A first was the pilot in Kista operated Nobina and which involved two vehicles of the type Easy Mile EZ10. 

SARA1's aim was to understand the effects and potential of AVs for shared services, and especially to eveluate the pilot with societal, users and system perspectives. This research is crucial to the design the future deployments and pilots, and to create a system that is sustainable from societal, environmental and economical perspective.


The project idea was to perform an assessment and investigate research questions by studying the pilot with two AVs that Nobina was leading in Kista, during an initial pilot period of 6 months. The project investigated different aspects of user’s behavior and service design in relation to the AV. 

The project also provided a first platform for a general method for assessment of AV in shared services. This method can be used as a basis a knowledge platform for AV systems in shared services but also for assessing coming deployments on AV. The knowledge and the method built up in the project will contribute to other ongoing initiatives in Sweden, for example the test sites in Drive Sweden, the governments “Samverkansprogram för nästa generations resor och transporter”, and Connected Mobility Arena at KTH.

Research questions

1. How likely are people to use & pay for AV services?

- What are the factors affecting their acceptance and intention to use AV services? - How do people perceive services operated by AV?

2. Where should AB systems be deployed based on route network, bus capacity, bus frequency, operator demand and passenger demand?


Selected results

Willingness to use •Most users need a steward to feel safe •Tech-savvies trust the bus more than others •Students feel safer without the steward Willingness to pay •Business owners and students would rather pay for another type of autonomous service •High-earning women between 25 and 64 do not like the customer service on the bus •Train commuters are more willing to pay for the bus •Safety and customer service is important to your willingness to pay
  Results from simulations •Autonomous buses = lower costs •Some routes are better than others •More passengers, more savings •Bad travel experiences with suboptimal schedule •Autonomous buses won’t fix bad networks •Autonomous buses can go where conventional ones can’t  

Project reports


The project had two main components: the operation of the two vehicles and the assessment/research. Nobina was primarily responsible for the operation element, and KTH for research.

The partners in the project are Nobina Technology and KTH.

Funding organisations

The project is financially supported by Vinnova (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) and the Strategic Innovation Program Drive Sweden.

Belongs to: Integrated Transport Research Lab (ITRL)
Last changed: Apr 20, 2021
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