How Do Activities Conducted while Commuting Influence Mode Choice? Testing Public Transportation Advantage and Autonomous Vehicle Scenarios

From early studies of time allocation onward, it has been acknowledged that the “productive” nature of travel could affect its utility. At the margin, an individual may choose transit over a shorter automobile trip, if thereby she is able to use the travel time more productively. Alternatively, the recent advancements toward partly/fully automated vehicles are poised to revolutionize the perception and utilization of travel time in cars, and are further blurring the role of travel as a crisp transition between location-based activities. To quantify these effects, the authors created and administered a survey to measure multitasking attitudes and behavior while commuting, together with general attitudes, mode-specific perceptions, and standard socioeconomic traits (N = 2120 Northern California commuters). The authors present a revealed preference mode choice model that accounts for the impact of multitasking attitudes and behavior on the utility of various alternatives. The authors find that engaging in productive activities (i.e. electronic reading/writing and using a laptop/tablet) significantly influences utility and could account for a small but non-trivial portion of the current mode shares. For example, the model estimates that commuter rail and car/vanpool shares would respectively be 0.38 and 3.22 percentage points lower, and the drive-alone share 3.00 percentage points higher, if the option to use time productively while traveling were not available. Conversely, in a hypothetical autonomous vehicles scenario, where the car would allow a high level of engagement in productive activities, driving alone and car/vanpool shares increased by 0.95 percentage points and 1.08 percentage points, respectively.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ADB10 Traveler Behavior and Values.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Malokin, Aliaksandr
    • Circella, Giovanni
    • Mokhtarian, Patricia L
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2015


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 22p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 94th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556439
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 15-1179
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 30 2014 12:28PM