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Determinants of travel mode choice in urban areas Takla, Emile Fawzy

Abstract

This study has two major concerns: the identification of mode choice determinants, and the formulation of a mode choice model which accounts for the determinants defined. First, the concepts underlying users' behaviour are expounded. These concepts relate users' mode choice to several influences, the perceived attributes of the transportation system, his socio-economic characteristics, and sensitivity toward modal attributes. In this study, the latter is hypothesized to be a function of the user's time budget and other indications of his lifestyle. Thus, an individual may attach a great significance to savings in travel time as a result of his engagement in activities which put considerable demand upon his time, although most members of his income group may be sensitive primarily to the travel cost attribute. User's lifestyle may therefore create divergent sensitivities within the same socio-economic group. Previous research findings support the hypothesis that variations in these sensitivities are independent from the. socio-economic characteristics. The study's model makes use of this concept. The model is composed of two parts: the first is concerned with the grouping of all users according to their sensitivities toward attributes of the mode choice situation, and subsequently the calibration of a stochastic function to explain users' choices in each group. The second part of the model relates the user's time, age and occupation (as indications of some aspects of his lifestyle) to these sensitivity, which is an additional step to substantiate the rationale of the model and its predictive quality. The information to be fed into the calibration procedure is to be collected in a questionnaire survey on users' behaviour under choice conditions. The model is therefore a behavioural one; its basic function is to explain the predict users' choices. This approach is different, for example, from the propensity model approach, where users' preferences, rather than behaviour, are the basis for calibration. The model proposed in this study can be applied as a planning tool to demonstrate the impact of various transportation policies on users' choices. The model is capable of providing estimates of the number of users that would be attracted to public transit as a result of, for example, introducing a new transit system, improving the existing level of service, increasing parking charges or gasoline prices. Other applications include the assessment of the impact of introducing novel transportation modes on ridership under the assumption that their attributes are comparable to the existing ones. Also, since the model accounts for certain aspects of the individual's lifestyle, it is possible to link changes in the latter to his mode choice.

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