Choosing Public Transport – Incorporating Richer Behavioural Elements in Modal Choice Models

The development of behaviourally richer representations of the role of well established and increasingly important influences on mode choice, such as trip time reliability and accounting for risk attitude and process rules, has moved forward at a fast pace in the context of automobile travel. In the public transport setting, such contributions have, with rare exception, not been considered. In this paper, we discuss and empirically illustrate the merits of advanced modelling developments aimed at improving our understanding of public transport choice, namely the inclusion of reliability in extended expected utility theoretic forms, to recognise risk attitude and perceptual conditioning, the consideration of passenger crowding and its inclusion in linear additive models; and the role of multiple heuristics in representing attribute processing as a way of conditioning modal choice. We illustrate the mechanics of introducing these behaviourally appealing extensions using a modal choice data set collected in Sydney.

Identifying commuter preferences for existing modes and a proposed metro

In 2009, the New South Wales government announced that it would be proceeding with a feasibility study to identify the patronage potential of a new Metro rail system for Sydney. As part of this study, a new modal choice study was undertaken to establish the role of traditional attributes such as travel times and costs (and more recently, reliability) but also somewhat neglected influences such as crowding, where the later has a critical role in the calculation of capacity needs at railway stations. This paper focuses on the commuter segment and develops a new stated choice experiment in which travellers are able to compare the proposed new Metro with existing available modal alternatives for access, linehaul and egress trip stages, with a particular emphasis on the incorporation of crowding represented by the availability of a seat vs. standing in existing and new public transport modes. We present the error component choice model together with estimates of mode-specific willingness to pay for travel time components, service frequency and crowding, that latter expressed in terms of the probability of getting a seat and the probability of avoiding standing.