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Mode choice determiniants of selected socioeconomic groups : an investigation of a planning and control mechanism to divert automobile drivers to public transportation Brown, Gerald Richardson


This study examines the determinants of individual commuter mode choice, and the feasibility of adjusting the mode split by public policy; with special reference to changes in parking arrangements and the price of parking. Hypotheses about the dimensions of travel time, cost, comfort, and convenience in the mode choice decision for various socioeconomic strata are formulated from an examination of a single travel corridor in Vancouver, Canada. A disaggregate stochastic behavioral model of the discrimination-classification type is developed and used to test the hypotheses within the context of a planning and control mechanism based on policy changes. The results indicate that adjustments in residential travel time, parking charges, and bus frequency would be most effective in changing mode split. A second series of tests measured the propensity of different socioeconomic groups to shift from automobile travel to a multimode "park and ride" system. A so-called "propensity" model was formulated from individual preferences for the service characteristics required to encourage a shift to the multimodal system; or a change in downtown parking cost to effect a shift to transit. The propensity model indicates that substantial shifts could be expected with large percentage increases in parking charges in conjunction with improvements in transit service. To be effective in promoting mode shift the park and ride service would require very efficient transfer arrangements at the fringe terminal, and frequent transit service. The statistical tests demonstrate that propensity to shift is related to the socioeconomic characteristics of the tripmaker. Those under 40, from single car families, with middle-to lower incomes, and those in the non-professional occupations have higher propensity to shift than the population as a whole. The study is conducted within the context of a philosophy of transportation planning which seeks to channel demand for transportation services toward community objectives. The results are antecedents of a planning and control mechanism which is both goal-oriented and-incremental; incorporating both system planning and decision making in the long term context, and flexible operational control of the system to meet short term objectives. The mechanism suggested, using parking policy as the control factor, is aimed at incremental investment decisions which are more or less reversible. It is concluded that parking policy changes, if the institutional setting allows, can be an effective goal oriented instrument for mode split planning.

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