Researchers believe urban roads could see average delays cut by 12.4% if just 25% of cars are automated.
The DfT#8217;s study #8211; which involved using computer software to create virtual models of different parts of the road network #8211; found t here could be a 40% cut in peak time delays on motorways and major roads if vehicles are driverless.
#8220;Much will depend on how an autonomous car#8217;s parameters are set and just how defensively these vehicles will be programmed to drive.#8221;
Early models of driverless cars are expected to operate more cautiously than regular vehicles, resulting in #8220;a potential decrease in effective capacity and a decline in network performance#8221;, the report warned.
Transport minister John Hayes said: #8221; This exciting and extensive study shows that driverless cars could vastly improve the flow of traffic in our towns and cities, offering huge benefits to motorists including reduced delays and more reliable journey times.#8221;
The analysis suggested that a reduction in congestion may not be achieved until automated vehicles make up 50% to 75% of the fleet.
Delays on motorways and major roads during peak periods are expected to rise by 0.9% when one in four cars are automated, researchers found.