Structural Equation Modeling of Relative Desired Travel Amounts

The “derived demand” perspective on daily travel, which has become axiomatic in the transportation field, holds that travel is derived from the demand to participate in spatially separated activities. The act of traveling itself is not considered to offer any positive utility, and minimizing travel time is a primary goal of all travelers in all situations. This dissertation continues a recent effort to challenge this paradigm by directly modeling the interrelationships among travel amounts, perceptions, affections (or liking), and desires, and, in doing so, asking: why do some individuals want to travel more, and others less? By modeling quantities such as travel affection and desire, the existence of these measures is acknowledged. Their relative impact on daily travel amounts and each other is formally quantified. Five short-distance (one-way trips less than 100 miles) and five long-distance categories of travel are examined, specifically: short-distance overall, commute, work/school-related, entertainment/social/recreation, and personal vehicle; long-distance overall, work/school-related, entertainment/social/recreation, personal vehicle, and airplane. The models are estimated using data collected in 1998 from more than 1,300 commuting workers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cross-model analysis reveals three robust relationships, namely: (1) myriad measures of actual travel amounts work together to affect qualitative perceptions of those amounts (e.g. “a little” or “a lot”); (2) those perceptions are consistently important in shaping desires to reduce or increase one’s travel; and (3) affections for travel have a positive influence on those desires. The second finding suggests that two individuals who travel the same objective amount may not have the same desire to reduce their travel: how much each individual perceives his or her travel to be is important. The third point argues that the degree to which travel is enjoyed is a key determinant in shaping desires to reduce travel: the more travel is enjoyed, the less the desire to reduce it. Each of the ten models is estimated with the following four estimation techniques: maximum likelihood,asymptotic distribution free, bootstrapping, and the Mplus approach. A cross-model econometric comparison by estimation technique and sample size is included. The implications of the work are largely theoretical, but the ideas presented can lead to very practical suggestions. For instance, those promoting travel demand management strategies, such as telecommuting, should pay attention to the travel perceptions of their target audience. Even though someone may be objectively traveling a lot, if the individual does not perceive those amounts to be high, he may not embrace a policy aimed at reducing his travel. And the same can be said for those who enjoy travel: those who see value in travel, perhaps because it provides a buffer between the work and home realms of daily life, will logically be less motivated to reduce their travel amounts. The survey respondents exhibit a considerable degree of liking for travel of all kinds studied, and this work unequivocally demonstrates the importance of travel liking to travel behavior.


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  • Accession Number: 01147393
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UCD-ITS-RR-07-09
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 10 2009 11:59AM