A probability-based indicator for measuring the degree of multimodality in transportation investments

Although decision makers may favor a “multimodal” transportation system, it can be difficult to indicate the extent to which a given transportation investment is, or is not, multimodal. This lack of an indicator can be acute when the project selection process requires consideration of how a given investment supports increased multimodality. In response to this need, this research reports on a taxonomy for classifying the degree of multimodality for transportation projects. Probability theory was employed with principal component analysis to create a new indicator based on both demand (modal shares) and supply (monetary investment for each mode). The indicator offers three main benefits in the area of performance measurement: (1) it is applicable in cases when some data are missing; (2) it provides a way of comparing multimodality from diverse projects such as high-occupancy toll lanes or multimodal centers; and (3) it can help decision-makers quantify how multimodality has changed over time. For example, application of the indicator to six U.S. public-private partnership projects in Colorado, Florida, Rhode Island, and Virginia showed that the degree of multimodality increased by an average value of 57%. (While the manner in which the impact boundary is defined affects this calculation for specific projects, the average value remained relatively stable whether the impact boundary was equal to the average commute trip length or less than half that amount.) Given that some planners view multimodality as societally beneficial, the indicator proposed herein can help one evaluate the multimodal potential of proposed transportation investments.


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  • Accession Number: 01644293
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2017 10:07AM