Are Long Commutes Short on Benefits? Commute Duration and Various Manifestations of Well-Being
Eric Morris, Clemson UniversityShow Abstract
Ying Zhou, Clemson University
Commuting comes with costs, in terms of money (fuel, vehicle maintenance, and depreciation), the opportunity cost of time that might be put to better uses, and emotional burdens such as stress or boredom during or even after the commute. Yet Americans take on considerably longer commutes than would be necessary if minimizing commute time were the sole criterion in location decisions. This suggests that longer commutes must have some benefits, or else that people are irrational when making location decisions. This research seeks evidence for possible compensation for commuting. It finds two sources. First, longer commutes are associated with higher wages. Second, longer commutes are associated with higher rates of homeownership, suggesting longer-duration commuting helps to facilitate a better housing situation, possibly in part because it permits suburban living. However, there is no evidence that a longer commute is associated with higher wages for the commuter’s spouse, as might be expected if one partner takes on a longer commute to improve the other’s job prospects. Longer commute trips are not associated with poorer mood during the trip, but also are not associated with more emotionally fulfilling work. Finally, commute duration is not associated with life satisfaction, perhaps because the rewards and costs of a long commute roughly balance each other out, because the burdens of the commute are not enough to meaningfully impact as broad a construct as life satisfaction, or because people have largely sorted into locations which suit their preferences.
Local Option Transportation Sales Taxes in California: Measuring Tax Burden and Its Influence on Voting
Anne Brown, University of California, Los AngelesShow Abstract
Jaimee Lederman, University of California, Los Angeles
Brian Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles
Martin Wachs, University of California, Los Angeles
Motor fuel tax revenues are declining as the major source of transportation funding and many places are increasingly reliant on voter-approved local option sales taxes (LOSTs) to fund transportation improvements. The trend is national, though the most populous state, California, has passed more LOSTs than any other. Sales taxes are known to be regressive, so the effects of LOSTs on lower income populations may be increasingly significant. Accordingly, tax burden of local option sales taxes is measured to estimate their incidence and to determine whether their regressivity was related to voting outcomes. Using data from five California counties, information from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the U.S. Census, and voting records are analyzed and results reveal that LOSTs are highly regressive. However, the disproportionate relative tax burden imposed on lower income people by LOSTs does not appear to deter people in poorer communities from voting for them; instead, it appears that people consider the absolute dollar amount rather than relative tax burden when voting for or against a measure. Tax burden as a percentage of income is positively correlated with voter approval, while burden measured purely as dollars spent on a tax is negatively correlated with voter support. Policymakers should attempt to temper sales tax regressivity by spending the revenues in ways that benefit low-income communities, and also should weigh sales taxes against potentially less regressive transportation finance mechanisms.
Estimating Consumer Demand for Autonomous Vehicles in the Greater Toronto–Hamilton Area: 2016 Survey and Model Results
Kailey Laidlaw, BC TransitShow Abstract
Matthias Sweet, Ryerson University
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) appear poised to transform urban transportation, but the direction and magnitude of change is unclear. Private autonomous vehicles (PAVs) could be individually owned and induce sprawl and more driving (1). In contrast, fleets of on-demand shared AVs (SAVs) could reduce the need to own and use cars to travel. While such normative visions currently shape the public discussion, for public policy to effectively manage this new technology, a better understanding of how consumers will adopt and use AVs is important.
Based on a consumer survey in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in Canada, this research seeks to understand the conditions under which consumers will adopt and use AVs. The survey is administered to 3,201 respondents in November 2016 and asks questions related to individual and household characteristics, commuting and travel, and preferences for AVs. Ordered probit models are estimated to explore demand for PAVs or SAVs (estimated independently for trips to/from transit and for other trips). Findings identify common interest in both PAVs or SAVs among young, urbanites, those with flexible work schedules, the tech-savvy, current Uber users, and chauffeurs. PAV adopters are expected to be auto users with cars costing more than $30,000. In contrast, SAV users are expected to be current commuters by non-auto modes and indicate significant potential for SAV trips to both substitute for and complement non-auto commuting. Overall, findings suggest that AVs are likely to disrupt current travel patterns and particularly transportation policies designed to increase non-auto mode shares.
Rural Road Improvement and Inclusive Development: Lessons from a Case Study of School Commuting in Cambodia
Rika Idei, University of TokyoShow Abstract
Hironori Kato, University of Tokyo
Transportation infrastructure has been expected as a potential vehicle of inclusive development particularly in rural areas where people often slip out from countries’ development mainstreams. This study aims to examine how improving the conditions of rural roads impacts the accessibility of children to school in Cambodia. Local population in the studied areas originally experienced difficulties in sending their children to school, mainly due to impassable roads and poor ownership of travel modes. Thus, to examine the effects of road improvements, the study focuses on ownership of bi-wheeled modes, as they greatly increased after road improvements regardless of income levels. In terms of results, changes in the ownership of motorbikes positively affected school attendance at a significant level, as these modes alleviated time burdens for children and their household members if escorting, and eventually reduced physical fatigue. However, road improvements did not necessarily enhance the attendance of children in low-income households. One possible reason is represented by the financial burdens to purchase items for attending class and for private tutoring to achieve smooth promotion. Another reason could be that these children did not have time to study at home, as they had to contribute to their household’s income generation activities. Furthermore, unexpectedly, some students left schools before completing basic education (primary and lower secondary education), because they wanted to participate immediately in their enhanced local economies following their household members. Identifying the dynamics behind children’s schooling in rural Cambodia is expected to help the government frame education policies for future generations.
Full Cost Analysis of Accessibility
Mengying Cui, University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesShow Abstract
David Levinson, University of Sydney
Traditional accessibility evaluation fails to fully capture the travel costs, especially the external costs of travel. This study develops a framework of extending accessibility analysis combining the alternate (internal and external) cost components of travel, time, safety, emission and money, with accessibility analysis, which makes it an efficient evaluation tool for the potential needs of transport planning projects. An illustration of this framework based on a toy network was also built in this paper, which proves the potential of applying the extending accessibility analysis into the network of metropolitan areas.
Determinants of City-Level Private Car Ownership in China: A Study Based on Panel Data
Hongtai Yang, Southwest Jiaotong UniversityShow Abstract
Xiaohan Liu, Southwest Jiaotong University
Guocong Zhai, Southwest Jiaotong University
Jingying Wang, Southwest Jiaotong University
Yugang Liu, Southwest Jiaotong University
In order to examine the determinants of city-level private car ownership in China, a panel data of 212 target cities in China are collected for a period from 2006 to 2015. Nine variables including economic characteristics, urban characteristics, and transportation characteristics of cities are selected as possible explanatory variables. Pooled regression model, fixed effect model and random effect model are adopted and compared by fitting the panel data. The results of the Hausman test indicate that the fixed effect model should be used to explain the effect of determinants on private car ownership. Among them, gross domestic product per capita, average income of employed workers, urbanization, highway density and number of taxis per 10,000 population have significant positive effects on private car ownership. In addition, a geographically weighted regression (GWR) model is employed to explore the effects of geographical locations of target cities on private car ownership by fitting the data of 2015. The results show that regression coefficients vary across different geographical regions, indicating that a city should not simply copy the other cities’ strategies to control the private car ownership even if the strategies are effective in those cities because the influencing factors could be different across cities. The study results can provide reference for making policies for controlling private car ownership.
Distributional Effects of Transport Policies on Inequalities in Access to Opportunities
Rafael Pereira, University of OxfordShow Abstract
Nate Wessel, University of Toronto
The evaluation of the social impacts of transport policies is attracting growing attention in recent years but the literature is still predominately focused on developed countries. The goal of this research is to investigate how investments in public transport networks can reshape social and geographical inequalities in access to opportunities in a developing country, using the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) as a case study. Recent mega-events, including the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, have triggered substantial changes to the city’s transport system, giving a unique opportunity to look at the distributional effects of those investments on peoples’ access to educational and employment opportunities. The study compares Rio’s public transport network before and after those mega-events (2014-2017) to estimate how accessibility gains vary across different income groups and areas of the city. Bivariate Moran's I and LISA were used to identify spatial clusters of association between income levels and gains in accessibility. Overall, the results show that the infrastructure investments, combined with recent cuts in service levels in Rio were not followed by positive change in accessibility. Moreover, the variation in access to employment and education has shown to be weakly but positively correlated with income levels, suggesting that recent transport policies in Rio might have exacerbated socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities. Both accessibility analysis and statistical tests were conducted using multiple spatial scales and zoning schemes and the results have shown to be robust to the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP).
Does Commute Influence Postsecondary Students’ Social Capital? A Case Study of Four Universities in Toronto, Canada
Bria Aird, Ryerson UniversityShow Abstract
Steven Coutts, Ryerson University
Raktim Mitra, Ryerson University
Matti Siemiatycki, University of Toronto
Social capital – the resources which an individual can mobilize through their network of social relationships – is an important component of student success. While the negative impacts of commuting on social capital are well known through research in other populations, less is known about the impacts of a student’s commute on the production of on-campus social capital. Using data collected from students attending four universities in Toronto, Canada, and using binomial logistic regression models, we explored the demographic, transportation-related, and attitudinal influences on students’ commute decisions that may impact the accumulation of social capital. In particular, three social capital related outcomes were explored- 1) do students select courses to avoid commuting? 2) does their commute discourage attendance on campus? and 3) does their commute discourage participation in extra-curricular activities taking place at the university? The majority of these postsecondary students agreed that their commute sometimes discourage them from coming to campus (63%), and from participating in campus activities or events (65%). Commute time had a statistically significant effect on all three social capital-related outcomes. Travel mode was also an important factor that likely influenced coming to campus and participating in campus activities. Female students had greater odds of being discouraged to travel to campus and to participate in university activities due to commute. Having a negative attitude toward travel was also associated with lower campus participation. Implications of these findings for university campus planning, as well as broader policy issues such as affordable housing and transit infrastructure, have been discussed.
Transport Equity in Bogotá: Nonmandatory Accessibility and Capabilities
Luis Guzman, Universidad de Los AndesShow Abstract
Daniel Oviedo Hernandez, University College London
The research sets out to examine the interaction between concepts such as equity, capabilities and accessibility. Our analysis builds on the concept of accessibility, focusing on the role of transport as enabler of opportunities for social interactions, healthcare and leisure, which contribute human development and wellbeing. The research aims at testing a methodological framework for accessibility developed and tested in the Latin American context, although it has not been previously applied to non-commuting travel.
Our paper contributes to the existing evidence base of the relevance of non-commuting travel for policy assessment in a context of high manifested inequity, which can be scaled up and applied in other contexts with various levels of inequity. For this purpose, the research is developed in the context of the Bogotá Metropolitan Region, a paradigmatic case of transport development and policy in the Global South. The accessibility indices are analyzed from an equity perspective using recently developed equity metrics such as the Palma Ratio and Lorenz Curves for comparing non-work accessibility based on differences of income and socioeconomic positions. Our findings seek to contribute to present transport policy and practice, providing relevant insights to support actions that redistribute accessibility to opportunities other than the job market and questioning some of the paradigms of mainstream transport planning in cities like Bogotá.
Vehicle Loan Financing in Low-Income and Minority Households
Evelyn Blumenberg, University of California, Los AngelesShow Abstract
Stephen Brumbaugh, University of California, Los Angeles
Jane Pollard, Newcastle University
While the United States has made substantial investments in public transit, many households still need vehicles to access employment and other economic opportunities. Vehicles are especially important for low-income households in areas with limited public transit service. Some households, particularly low-income and minority households, may have difficulty purchasing automobiles due to high vehicle loan interest rates. Disparities in vehicle loan interest rates can be explained, in part, by differences in financial and demographic characteristics. However, previous research has provided evidence of persistent racial disparities controlling for these characteristics.
In this paper, we investigate the relationships among income, race/ethnicity, and vehicle financing using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances from 2004 to 2013. In recent years, the number of households in the United States with high-interest vehicle loans has increased along with the growth in subprime automobile lending. This paper extends earlier research by investigating vehicle loan interest rates in the context of this growth. We model vehicle loan interest rates for all households and for households at various points of the percentile distribution.
Controlling for demographic, financial, and vehicle loan characteristics, racial and ethnic disparities in interest rates remain. Compared to white households, Hispanic and black households are more likely to rely on vehicle finance companies and pay higher premiums to do so, especially at the highest quartile of the percentile distribution. The findings suggest the development of policies and programs to address the barriers that households—particularly minority households—face in purchasing automobiles.
Measuring Equity in Bikeshare Programs: A Case Study of the Twin Cities
Jueyu Wang, University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesShow Abstract
Greg Lindsey, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Many U.S. cities have adopted bike share programs. Research has shown the majority of bike share users are white, highly educated, and young, with higher incomes. This observation has led to concerns about equity. In 2015, the Nice Ride program in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota had 190 stations located principally to serve the two central business districts, recreational areas, and transit corridors. Using the Nice Ride program as a case, this paper addresses three questions:
We use GINI coefficients to measure equity of access to stations. All analyses are at the Census block level. The results confirm inequity in the spatial distribution of stations: equity of access is greater among employees than residents. However, blocks with higher percentages of households with low incomes and without vehicles have greater access. The numbers of male and female annual members are roughly equal, but a gender gap exists in frequency of riding. Regression models show that members who are male, young, or students take more trips. Models also show, however, members who reside in poorer neighborhoods ride more frequently. Disparities in bike share, but factors that affect ridership are complex. Gini Coefficients are a useful tool for comparing equity of access among subpopulations.
Leveraging App Technology to Measure the Impact of Transportation Disadvantage: A Methodological Case Study
Noelle Fields, University of Texas, ArlingtonShow Abstract
Courtney Cronley, University of Texas, Arlington
Stephen Mattingly, University of Texas, Arlington
Traditional and existing innovative data-collection methods may not fully capture the lived experiences and underserved travel demands of individuals experiencing transportation disadvantage (TD). Furthermore, individuals at risk for TD tend to be the same individuals who are at risk for social exclusion (i.e. structural marginalization of persons leading to the denial of access to resources and/or discouragement from participating in the wider community), perhaps due, in part, to TD. This novel research utilizes an intensive ecological, longitudinal design to understand the actual and desired travel experiences of two environmental-justice (EJ) populations: older adults and women with dependent children experiencing homelessness within the framework of social exclusion. An interdisciplinary team collaborated on the design and development of an app, MyAmble, to measure the impact of TD on the following domains of social exclusion: resources, participation, and quality of life.MyAmble includes several innovations – daily digital trip planning, a text-messaging based qualitative interview tool, and a challenge logger enabling participants to document real-time transportation barriers through videos and photos. Responding to the need for new data collection methods, MyAmble aims to more fully understand the transportation needs of EJ populations along temporally and spatially contextualized scales. Findings will inform recommendations related to building transportation equity for EJ populations and offer implications for practice and research.
Changes in Workers' Residential Distribution Around Growing Rapid Transit Systems
Yunlei Qi, University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesShow Abstract
Yingling Fan, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Many metropolitan regions in the U.S. have recently expanded their rapid transit systems – using rapid modes such as Light Rail Transit (LRT) and/or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Using the Longitudinal Employer and Household Dynamics data from 2002 to 2014, this study examines the impact of newly opened transit lines on workers’ residential distribution in the transit station areas in 15 large metropolitan areas. The impact is compared among six worker groups, which are classified by sector and wage level, while controlling for socio-demographics and locational characteristics of the station areas. The results show that station areas of newly opened rapid transit corridors experienced significant gentrification—high-wage and professional workers increased significantly in the areas while low-wage, middle-wage, production, and service workers decreased significantly after station opening. The pulling and pushing effects on workers with different wage are continuous and stable. However, the pulling and pushing effects on workers in different sectors fluctuates during the period for service and professional workers. Our results verified the impact of rapid transit lines on residential growth in transit corridors in large metropolitan area. Even with lower baseline population, LRT still showed significant power in densifying areas near transit. Apart from the overall positive impact, there is an evident gentrification and displacement impact, i.e., influx of high-wage, professional workers and displacement of low-wage, production and service workers. The gentrification impact raises social equity concerns and calls for effective mitigation strategies in newly opened rapid transit corridors that can preserve residents of low socio-economic status.
Semantic Analysis of Popular-Music References to Automobiles, 1950s to 2010s
Scott Le Vine, SUNY New Paltz / Imperial CollegeShow Abstract
Elizabeth Bengel, SUNY New Paltz
Jason Czerwinski, SUNY New Paltz
John Polak, Imperial College London
In the 2010s, there has been a scholarly debate regarding the decrease in automobile-related mobility indicators (car ownership, driving license holding, VMT, etc.). Broadly speaking, two theories have been put forward to explain this trend: 1) economic factors whose impacts are well-understood in principle, but whose occurrence among young adults as a demographic sub-group had been overlooked, and 2) less well-understood shifts in cultural mores, values and sentiment towards the automobile. This second theory is devilishly difficult to study, due primarily to limitations in standard data resources such as the National Household Travel Survey. In this study we first compiled a database of lyrics to top-40 popular music songs from 1956 to 2015, and subsequently identified references to automobiles within this corpus. We then evaluated whether there is support for theory #2 above within popular music, by looking at changes from the 1950s to the 2010s. We demonstrate that the frequency of references to automobility has increased over time, however our results are mixed as to whether the references are becoming increasingly positive or negative (machine analysis suggests increasing negativity, while human analysis suggests increasing positivity).