Simulator study of ridesharing pickup and dropoff area design and evaluation of benefits and applications of tethered surveillance drones (TSDS)
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI--COLUMBIA AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Technology is reshaping transportation. An example is mobile apps that enable the growing ridesharing industry. When combined with another technology, autonomous vehicles, ridesharing is expected to become a dominant mode of transportation. To facilitate this, dedicated pickup/dropoff areas for ridesharing need to be implemented. Two pickup/dropoff area designs, one with angled parking stalls and one a curbside design, were developed and tested using pedestrian and wheelchair simulators to study the performance of the designs with respect to safety, efficiency, and accessibility from the pedestrian perspective. While both designs performed comparably in terms of safety, the curb design resulted in a shorter vehicle waiting time, indicating greater efficiency. However, results indicated that the stall design was more accessible, leading to the conclusion that both designs are viable compared to each other, with neither being clearly superior. Additionally, signage and education were found to be effective in a simulator in increasing the safety and efficiency of the pickup/dropoff areas. Another example of technological advancements is the use of drones in transportation. Drone use is increasing in limited applications, but drawbacks such as communications concerns, short flight times, and regulations limit further use. One way to overcome these limitations is implementing tethered surveillance drones (TSDs): drones connected to a powered base station via a cable tether. This enables unlimited flight times, secure communications, and the possibility for loosened regulations. These benefits could expand drone use for applications including traffic incident management, work zone monitoring, and other forms of data collection or traffic monitoring.
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