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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2120; doi:10.3390/su9112120

Using New Mode Choice Model Nesting Structures to Address Emerging Policy Questions: A Case Study of the Pittsburgh Central Business District

1
Center for Transportation Studies, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Thornton Hall D101, 351 McCormick Road, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
2
Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure, 706 Benedum Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3
Virginia Transportation Research Council, 530 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
All authors contributed substantially to the research article.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 12 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Policy)
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Abstract

As transportation activities affect a region’s environmental quality, knowing why individuals prefer certain modes can help a region make judicious transportation investments. Using a nested logit model, this paper studies the behavior of commuters to downtown Pittsburgh who use auto, bus, light rail, walking, and biking. Although statistical measures influence the selection of a nesting structure, another criterion for model selection is the policy questions such models inform. Hence this paper demonstrates how an alternative model structure allows planners to consider new policy questions. For example, how might a change in parking fee affect greenhouse gas emission (GHGs)? The proposed model showed that a 5%, 10% and 15% increase in parking cost reduces GHGs by 7.3%, 9% and 13.2%, respectively, through increasing carpoolers’ mode share. Because the proposed model forecasts mode choices of certain groups of travelers with higher accuracy (compared to an older model that did not consider the model selection criteria presented here), the proposed model strengthens policymakers’ ability to consider environmental impacts of interest to the region (in this case, GHGs). The paper does not suggest that one nesting structure is always preferable; rather the nesting structure must be chosen with the policy considerations in mind. View Full-Text
Keywords: nested logit model; multinomial logit model; transport policy; travel behavior; econometrics; utility function; systematic term; random term; discrete mode choice; carpool; sustainable transport nested logit model; multinomial logit model; transport policy; travel behavior; econometrics; utility function; systematic term; random term; discrete mode choice; carpool; sustainable transport
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Khattak, Z.H.; Magalotti, M.J.; Miller, J.S.; Fontaine, M.D. Using New Mode Choice Model Nesting Structures to Address Emerging Policy Questions: A Case Study of the Pittsburgh Central Business District. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2120.

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