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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Individual choice behaviour and urban commuting Torchinsky, Raymon Lev


Urban commuting patterns can be viewed as the spatial manifestation of the outcome of labour market processes. Recent theoretical and empirical work investigating urban labour markets has emphasized the role of spatial wage differentials in mediating the interrelationship between labour supply and demand distributions and the dynamics of land-use change. This thesis represents an extension of such research. A simulation approach to commuting modelling, based on the explicit characterization of the interrelationship between urban location and interaction in terms of labour market processes, is developed. The solution path logic of the simulation model is designed to provide normative commuting outcomes, given the spatial pattern of labour supply and demand, under a wide range of assumptions concerning labour market processes and choice-making behaviour of market participants. An explicit characterization of the labour market, based on the specification of an endogenous behavioural assumption set, defines a model version. Thus, the model may be used to test the ability of various behavioural constructs to explain empirical commuting patterns. The justification and internal logic underlying the development of a specific model version is presented. This version is based on the assumption that the decision by a worker to apply for a job is objectively rational, given that the market environment does not provide certainty as to the outcome of an application. It is shown that such choice behaviour is analogous to the game-theoretic mixed strategy solution to non-cooperative games under uncertainty. The algorithm of the operational model incorporating this approach is detailed. The model was tested on empirical commuting patterns derived from Vancouver Census data, and model results were compared with those obtained from a positive entropy-based model. Commuting predictions exhibited a level of accuracy comparable to that achieved by the calibrated entropy model.

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