Understanding the Cost of Driving Trips

Driving is the second highest expense for the average American household. Yet few people know the total cost of owning and operating their vehicles, and most cannot estimate accurately how much a common driving trip (like a daily commute) costs. There are an increasing number of viable alternatives for personal transportation, such as car services (e.g. Uber, Lyft), in addition to ridesharing, transit, biking, and walking. Cost is one factor in transportation mode choice, and awareness of the cost of driving is useful in making better informed decisions. To bridge this awareness gap, we built and deployed a system that makes the total cost of each driving trip (including depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and fuel) visible to the user. After this intervention, participants were able to more accurately and confidently estimate costs of their driving commutes, and transfer this knowledge to other trips for which they had not seen a cost.

Published In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 430-434. [Paper]

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