Using Ordered Attitudinal Indicators in a Latent Variable Choice Model

A Study of the Impact of Security on Rail Travel Behaviour

Published In: Transportation, v. 39, no. 2, July 2012, p. 267-297

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2010

by Andrew Daly, Stephane Hess, Bhanu Patruni, Dimitris Potoglou, Charlene Rohr

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There is growing interest in the use of models that recognise the role of individuals' attitudes and perceptions in choice behaviour. Rather than relying on simple linear approaches or a potentially bias-inducing deterministic approach based on incorporating stated attitudinal indicators directly in the choice model, researchers have recently recognised the latent nature of attitudes. The uptake of such latent attitude models in applied work has however been slow, while a number of overly simplistic assumptions are also commonly made. In this article, we present an application of jointly estimated attitudinal and choice models to a real-world transport study, looking at the role of latent attitudes in a rail travel context. Our results show the impact that concern with privacy, liberty and security, and distrust of business, technology and authority have on the desire for rail travel in the face of increased security measures, as well as for universal security checks. Alongside demonstrating the applicability of the model in applied work, we also address a number of theoretical issues. We first show the equivalence of two different normalisations discussed in the literature. Unlike many other latent attitude studies, we explicitly recognise the repeated choice nature of the data. Finally, the main methodological contribution comes in replacing the typically used continuous model for attitudinal response by an ordered logit structure which more correctly accounts for the ordinal nature of the indicators.

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