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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Heterogeneity in Motorists' Preferences for Time Travel and Time Reliability: Empirical Findings from Multiple Survey Data Sets and Its Policy Implications


The deregulation experience in airline, banking, and telecommunication suggests that the heterogeneity in consumers’ preferences has important policy significance. However, the varied nature in motorists’ preferences has been hardly recognized in urban passenger transportation sector. In this public sector, the public authority generally offers a uniform class of services to all potential users. This dissertation employs the new advances in econometrics on survey data sets from road pricing experiment in Los Angeles area to study the diversity in motorists’ preferences for travel time and travel time reliability. The empirical findings are used to explore the efficiency and distributional effects of road pricing that accounts for users’ heterogeneity.

This dissertation found substantial heterogeneity in motorists’ preferences for both travel time and travel time reliability. Furthermore, based on a simulation model, this dissertation found that road pricing policies catering to varying preferences can substantially increase efficiency while maintaining the same political feasibility as the current experiments. This dissertation also explores how to apply the recent developments in Bayesian econometrics to estimate the multinomial probit models combining different sources of data, which can be used to estimate the diversity in peoples’ preferences with more flexibility in model specification.

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