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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structural Models of the Effects of the Commute Trip on Travel and Activity Participation


Travel demand is viewed as being derived from the demand for out-of-home activities. The journey to work can have a significant impact on the travel and activity patterns of workers and other household members. The objective of this research is to model the relationships between travel and activity participation and examine how these relationships are influenced by the time a worker spends commuting between home and his or her worksite. Causal hypotheses are tested using data from approximately 140 workers who responded to two waves of a panel survey collected as part of the State of California Telecommuting Pilot Project. These data contain detailed descriptions of all travel by the survey respondents over three working days in each of two years, 1988 and 1989. A structural equations model is specified in which the durations of four exhaustive categories of out-of-home activities - work, personal business, shopping and social/recreation -generate needs for time spent traveling, and durations and travel times are interrelated in a complex causal structure. The effects of the reduction in travel times for work by telecommuters in the second wave of the panel are captured in terms of additional structural parameters. Results indicate that telecommuting leads directly to increases in shopping activities and decreases in travel for social/recreational activities, and leads indirectly to changes in travel for all purposes. A general modeling framework in which activities and travel relationships can be studied is also discussed.

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