Should We Abandon Activity Type Analysis? Redefining Activities By Their Salient Attributes

This paper reconsiders the usefulness of traditional activity types in the understanding and modeling of travel behavior, and searches for more salient attributes of activities that may serve to better explain complex travel behaviors such as activity scheduling and tour formation. In particular, the paper focuses on explicit measures of the spatial, temporal and interpersonal flexibility of activities, along with several traditional attributes (frequency, duration, involved persons, travel time, and location). Data from a recent in-depth week-long activity scheduling survey was used to define and compare these attributes. Findings indicate that activity types do not share stable levels of flexibility and in fact show there is considerable variability in attributes between and within traditional activity groups. This casts considerable doubt on assumptions that statically assign levels of spatial, temporal, and interpersonal flexibility to any given activity type. A principal components analysis further revealed eight new distinct clusters of activities that share like attributes. The relative role of each attribute in each component is examined, and subjective interpretations emerged (e.g., “long and frequent committed acts/basic needs”, “space- and time-flexible” “social networking”). The implications of these results for future model development and research are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01044759
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2007 11:52PM