Long-Distance Overnight Values of Travel Time Across Modes and Tour Characteristics
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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The value of travel time (VoTT) quantifies the willingness of individuals to pay money in order to save a unit of travel time. It is a critical metric for the transportation industry that underlies many policy decisions and processes, including cost-benefit analyses, project evaluations, travel demand forecasting, and economic investments. However, despite the continuous growth of long-distance intercity travel in terms of the number of miles traveled and dollars spent on local/regional economies, existing metro area-based VoTT metrics are inadequate for long-distance trips. Therefore, this study completes three objectives: 1) examine the trade-offs between travel times and costs in the mode choices in representative observed long-distance trips, 2) model mode choice to quantify the VoTT for air and personal vehicles across multiple tour types in the Alabama and Vermont regions, and 3) develop a framework for characterizing individuals’ unique relationship with costs and travel times for long-distance travel. Specifically, this research combines detailed out-of-state long-distance tour records from the 2013 Longitudinal Survey of Overnight Travel (LSOT) with mode choice alternative data generated from the Bureau of Transport Statistics (BTS) and Google Maps to calculate VoTT for a variety of relevant individuals and tour factors using a multinomial logistic regression function. To represent as broad a definition as possible, long-distance trip in this study was defined as an overnight and out-of-state trip with at least 50 mi (one-way) distance between origin and destination. Trade-offs between travel cost and travel time in long-distance trips are examined to find that (1) minimizing travel costs was most important to long-distance overnight travelers, when the trip distance is less than 500 miles one-way and (2) minimizing travel time was most important to long-distance overnight travelers, when the trip distance is greater than 500 miles one-way. Values of travel time, calculated as a ratio of time and cost estimates from logistic regression, are found to have a negative sign more commonly in long-distance travel. This study identified different ways of interpreting negative VoTTs depending on the coefficients contributing to the negative sign. It further identified six different types of long-distance travel behaviors based on travelers’ attitudes towards saving time and/or money while taking their tour, annual travel and annual household characteristics into consideration. The results from this study are intended to assist transportation planners and analysts in the policy-making and decision-making processes related to transportation infrastructure.