Although still early in its development, connected vehicle (CV) technology is widely expected to transform the experience of traveling the nation’s streets and highways. By enabling vehicles to communicate with the roadway and with each other, CV would mitigate an estimated 80 percent of all vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers.
At the Fifth International Conference on Women’s Issues in Transportation, held in Paris, France, this past April, Z. Andrew Farkas, Ph.D., director of Morgan State University’s National Transportation Center, presented a study titled “Women’s Acceptance of and Willingness-to-Pay for Connected Vehicles.” The study was conducted by a team of MSU researchers: Dr. Farkas, Hyeon-Shic Shin, Ph.D., Young-Jae Lee, Ph.D., Michael Callow, Ph.D. and Seyedehsan Dadvar, a student in Morgan’s Doctor of Engineering program.
Aware of estimates that women in the U.S. buy 52 to 65 percent of all new cars and influence 85 to 95 percent of all car-buying decisions, the Morgan team sought to discern women’s willingness-to-pay for CV — accounting for the costs of the technology, socioeconomic characteristics of potential purchasers and perceived safety benefits. Another goal was to suggest policies for promotion and distribution of CV.
Among the team’s findings were that women were significantly more conscious of safety, fuel consumption and environmental impacts when buying vehicles but had less knowledge of CV than did men. Women were willing to pay as much as men in absolute terms for CV technologies, but women’s budgets for vehicle purchases were lower than men’s. Thus, women had higher willingness-to-pay relative to their budgets. Women’s willingness-to-pay declined greatly with high income and at age 50 and over.
The research supports the recommendation that safety agencies showcase CV safety benefits in media that cater to women 50 and over and at family-oriented public events. Safety programs targeting young male drivers should also showcase CV.