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The tunnel bus in Hong Kong: an analysis of user preferences for a public transportation system Ko, Tin-Ming

Abstract

The importance of consumer preference in transportation as a key to the forecasting of modal choice has received a growing recognition in the last ten years among transportation researchers in North America. Numerous studies of consumer attitudes toward transportation systems have been conducted in order to disclose the motivation underlying transportation consumer behavior. In Hong Kong the situation is different. In the last decade, several city-wide transportation studies have been conducted, with detailed description of aggregate travel characteristics such as trip purpose, income, and origin-destination. Yet, relatively little is known about consumer values relevant to transportation mode selection decisions. There is a scarcity of information concerning the factors that affect consumer behavior in transport, and the relative importance of these factors. The need for research designed to find information which will help fill this void of information is substantial. The objective of this thesis is to analyze, by means of an interview survey, the travelling behavior of the Tunnel-Bus passengers, and thereby to establish the relative importance of the different factors which lead to their mode selection decision. Two pieces of analysis have been undertaken. First, an analysis of the personal, socio-economic and trip characteristics of the passengers is performed. Secondly, an analysis of the passengers' mode-choice decision is made. The passengers' mode-choice decision is related to their personal, socio-economic and trip characteristics. In the light of the findings of these two steps, an appraisal of the predictions of patronage made by the government before the Tunnel Bus was introduced is undertaken. It is found that convenience and time-saving are the most important determinants that cause the passengers to use the Tunnel Bus. People are generally willing to pay more for a better, faster, more convenient transport mode for their cross-harbor journeys. Their grounds for choice of mode, however, vary with different groups of personal, socio-economic and trip characteristics such as, personal income, sex, trip purpose, frequency of use and previous transport mode. The implications of the findings are that more refined estimates of both time and convenience are needed in the transportation analysis in Hong Kong, and that modal split models should be made sensitive to mode convenience, users' age and work characteristics as well as time and cost.

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