Flexible Substitution Patterns in Models of Mode and Time of Day Choice

New Evidence from the UK and the Netherlands

Published in: Transportation, Vol. 34, No. 4, July 2007, p. 213-238

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2007

by Stephane Hess, John W. Polak, Andrew Daly, Geoffrey Hyman

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Modelling the temporal response of travellers to transport policy interventions has rapidly emerged as a major issue in many practical transport planning studies and is recognised to hold particular challenges. The importance of congestion and its variation over the day, together with the emergence of time-dependent road user charging as a policy tool, emphasise the need to understand whether and how travellers will change the timing of their journeys. For practical planning studies, analysts face a major issue of relating temporal changes to other behavioural changes that are likely to result from policy or exogenous changes. In particular, the relative sensitivity of time and mode switching has been difficult to resolve. This paper describes a study undertaken to determine the relative sensitivity of mode and time of day choice to changes in travel times and costs and to investigate whether evidence exists of varying magnitudes of unobservable influences in time of day switching. The study draws on data from three related stated preference studies undertaken over the past decade in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands and uses error components logit models to investigate the patterns of substitution between mode and time of day alternatives. It is concluded that the magnitude of unobserved influences on time switching depends significantly on the magnitudes of the time switches considered. With time periods of the magnitude generally represented in practical modelling, i.e. peak periods of 2-3 hours, time switching is generally more sensitive in these data than mode switching. However, the context of the modelling and the extent to which relevant variables can be measured will strongly influence these results.

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