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    Autonomous vehicles (AVs) may have significant environmental impacts although there are still few studies focusing solely on these effects. A vast majority of articles address environmental issues as a secondary outcome and, above all, emissions are the main topic. As the notion of environmental impacts concerns many aspects than just air pollution, this paper aims to explore and show the findings and flaws of current research with a wider vision. For that purpose, a systematic review of the scientific literature was carried out broadening the scope to land, water, noise, and light pollution in addition to air. The results reveal potential benefits of AVs due to technical improvements, new possibilities in design and traffic flow enhancement, but the benefits depend on penetration levels, shared mobility acceptance and the interaction with other modes of transport. On the other hand, negative effects are also identified related to the decrease in the value of trip time and user tendencies. Among other potential impacts, changes in land use are increasingly being studied. These changes can lead to significative impacts on emissions as well as on soil and water although the latter have not yet been considered. Lastly, the likely improvements in noise and light pollution are scarcely explored. Given the lack of study of some of the environmental outcomes of AVs, it is not possible to draw a precise conclusion on their overall impact, calling for more comprehensive studies that enable to identify all the measures to be taken to achieve a sustainable future. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Óscar Silva, Rubén Cordera, Esther González-González, Soledad Nogués. Environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles: A review of the scientific literature. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Jul 15;830:154615

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    PMID: 35307440

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