A Microsimulation Modelling Approach to Quantify Environmental Footprint of Autonomous Buses

Umair Hasan, Andrew Whyte, Hamad AlJassmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this study a novel microsimulation-based methodology for environmental assessment of urban systems is developed to address the performance of autonomous mass-mobility against conventional approaches. Traffic growth and microsimulation models, calibrated using real data, are utilised to assess four traffic management scenarios: business-as-usual; public bus transport case; public-bus rapid transit (BRT) case; and, a traffic-demand-responsive-autonomous-BRT case, focusing on fuel energy efficiency, headways, fleet control and platooning for lifecycle analysis (2015–2045) of a case study 3.5 km long 5-lane dual-carriageway section. Results showed that both energy consumption and exhaust emission rates depend upon traffic volume and flow rate factors of vehicle speed-time curves; acceleration-deceleration; and braking rate. The results measured over-reliance of private cars utilising fossil fuel that cause congestions and high environmental footprint on urban roads worsen causing excessive travel times. Public transport promotion was found to be an effective and easy-to-implement environmental burden reduction strategy. Results showed significant potential of autonomous mass-mobility systems to reduce environmental footprint of urban traffic, provided adequate mode-shift can be achieved. The study showed utility of microsimulations for energy and emissions assessment, it linked bus network performance assessment with environmental policies and provided empirical models for headway and service frequency comparisons at vehicle levels. The developed traffic fleet operation prediction methodology for long-term policy implications and tracking models for accurate yearly simulation of real-world vehicle operation profiles are applicable for other sustainability-oriented urban traffic management studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15657
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • emissions reduction
  • energy conservation
  • microsimulation
  • road traffic
  • scenario analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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