Road Map of Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Priorities in Ann Arbor: Travel Demand, Vehicle Design and Sustainability Performance


Greg Keoleian, PhD
Peter M. Wege Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Systems, U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment


May 2014 – April 2016


Jeffrey Stein, PhD
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, U-M College of Engineering

Lidia Kostyniuk, PhD
Research Scientist, Behavioral Sciences Group, U-M Transportation Research Institute

Tulga Ersal, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering, U-M College of Engineering


To collaborate with MTC and industrial partners to develop a road map for Ann Arbor Automation deployment that best meets the mobility needs of our community and also enhances sustainability.


To evaluate:

  1. The mobility needs of Ann Arbor.
  2. The vehicle characteristics that are required to provide a given mobility service autonomously.
  3. The environmental impacts of those autonomous services.


Deploying AVs on public roadways should occur in a controlled manner within environments that they are prepared for and that can safely accommodate unmanned vehicles.  When AVs move outside of designated testing centers, such as Mcity, permissible roadways must be explicitly defined and enforced.

Limiting deployment to within the city boundaries of Ann Arbor reduces risk due to high-speed travel and permits greater control over traffic laws and enforcement as the city can define the extent of allowable AV travel.

A progressive deployment of AV systems allows for earlier penetration of AVs on roadways, as simpler systems have lower technical and legal barriers to overcome compared to more expansive and flexible transportation services.

Initially selecting services that operate in low pedestrian environments reduces risk and difficulty in AV navigation.

As on-board sensing, computing, and control systems advance, AVs can effectively operate in more complex environments.

From serving single origin-destination trips, deployment can then be expanded to confined areas where any origin/destination can be served as long as the AV remains in the permitted area.  This sort of service could occur within a shopping or downtown center, or at events such as concerts or sports games, where demand analysis shows high intra-zonal flows.

Completed project report, Road Map of Autonomous Vehicle Service Deployment Priorities in Ann Arbor, published as Center for Sustainable Systems report CSS16-21:

Published Center for Sustainable Systems AV Factsheet CSS16-18: