AbstractThe American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted a 1-year pilot study of running a self-driving shuttle bus in the old downtown of Las Vegas between November 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018. Using the 3-year business license data in the City of Las Vegas—1 year before, 1 year during, and 1 year after the operation, this study conducts a generalized linear mixed-effect regression analysis to examine whether, and if so, how much operation of the autonomous shuttle bus affected change in the growth of active businesses during its 1-year operation. After controlling for each Census block group’s demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, the results show that Census block groups located close to the autonomous shuttle bus stops resulted in a significant increase in the number of active businesses during its operation. We also found significant positive impacts of employment mix, education level, and residents’ accessibility to jobs on the number of active business licenses. These results suggest that, like other fixed-guideway public transit, operation and dissemination of autonomous shuttle bus services can play a positive role in enhancing the level of business activities, particularly in old and declined downtown areas. This study ends with implications of the autonomous shuttle bus in terms of economic development.

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