Working Papers (when not listed elsewhere)
Hover over the article title link for abstract, click for downloadable paper in pdf.
- Huang, A and D. Levinson (2013) A survival analysis-based choice set formation approach for single-destination choice using GPS travel data.
This research investigates how land use and road network structure influence home-based single-destination choice in the context of trip chains, using the in-vehicle GPS travel data in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area. We propose a new choice set formation approach which combines survival analysis and random selection. Our empirical findings reveal that: (1) Accessibility and diversity of services at the destination influences individuals’ destination choice. (2) Route-specific network measures such as turn index, speed discontinuity, and trip chains’ travel time saving ratio also display statistically significant effects on destination choice. Our approach contributes to methodologies in modeling destination choice. The results improve our understanding on travel behavior and have implications on transportation and land use planning. (Working Paper)
- Iacono, M. and D. Levinson (2013) Causality in the Link Between Road Network Growth and Regional Development.
This paper investigates the relationship between the growth of road networks and regional development. We test for mutual causality between the growth of road networks (which are divided functionally into local roads and highways) and changes in county-level population and employment. We employ a panel data set containing observations of road mileage by type for all Minnesota counties over the period 1988 to 2007 to fit a model describing changes in road networks, population and employment. Results indicate that causality runs in both directions between population and local road networks, while no evidence of causality in either direction is found for networks and local employment. We interpret the findings as evidence of a weakening influence of road networks (and transportation more generally) on location, and suggest methods for refining the empirical approach described herein. (Working Paper)
- Owen, A., M. Janson and D. Levinson (2013) Incremental Accessibility Benefits and HOT Lane Subscription Choice.
This paper presents the results of an investigation into the factors contributing to toll lane subscription choice using data from the MnPASS HOT lane system operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A binomial logit model is estimated which predicts the likelihood that a household will have a subscription to the MnPASS system based on aggregate characteristics of the surrounding area. Variables in this model include demographic factors as well as an estimate of the incremental accessibility benefit provided by the MnPASS system. This benefit is estimated using detailed accessibility calculations. The model achieves a pseudo-r-squared value of 0.634, and analysis of the results suggest that incremental accessibility benefits play a statistically and practically significant role in determining how likely households are to hold a toll lane subscription. (Working Paper)
- Owen, A. and D. Levinson (2013) Modeling the Commute Mode Share of Transit Using Continuous Accessibility to Jobs.
This paper presents the results of an accessibility-based model of aggregate commute mode share, focusing on the share of transit relative to auto. It demonstrates the use of continuous accessibility — calculated continuously in time, rather than at a single or a few departure times — for the evaluation of transit systems. These accessibility calculations are accomplished using only publicly-available data sources. A binomial logit model is estimated which predicts the likelihood that a commuter will choose transit rather than auto for a commute trip based on aggregate characteristics of the surrounding area. Variables in this model include demographic factors as well as detailed accessibility calculations for both transit and auto. The model achieves a ρ2 value of 0.597, and analysis of the results suggests that continuous accessibility of transit systems may be a valuable tool for use in modeling and forecasting. (Working Paper)
- Schoner, J. and D. Levinson (2013) Which Station? Access Trips and Bike Share Route Choice.
Bike share systems are an emerging technology in the United States and worldwide, but little is known about how people integrate bike share trip segments into their daily travel. Through this research, we attempt to fill this knowledge gap by studying how people navigate from place to place using the Nice Ride Minnesota bike share system in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We develop a theoretical model for bike share station choice inspired by research on transit route choice literature. We then model people’s choice of origin station using a conditional logit model to evaluate their sensitivity to time spent walking, deviation from the shortest path, and a set of station amenity and neighborhood control variables. As expected, people prefer to use stations that do not require long detours out of the way to access. However, commuters and non-work travelers differ in how they value the walking portion of their trip, and what station amenities and neighborhood features increase a station’s utility. The results from this study will be important for planners who need a better understanding of bike share user behavior in order to design or optimize their system. The findings also provide a strong foundation for future study about comprehensive route choice analysis of this new bicycling technology. (Working Paper)
- Schoner, J, X. Cao, and D. Levinson (2013) Catalysts And Magnets: Built Environment Effects On Bicycle Commuting.
What effects do bicycle infrastructure and the built environment have on people’s decisions to commute by bicycle? While many studies have considered this question, commonly employed methodologies fail to address the unique statistical challenge of modeling such a low mode share. Additionally, self-selection effects that are not adequately accounted for may lead to overestimation of built environment impacts. This study addresses these two key issues by using a zero-inflated negative binomial model to jointly estimate participation in and frequency of commuting by bicycle, controlling for demographics, residential preferences, and travel attitudes. The findings suggest a strong self selection effect and modest contributions of bicycle accessibility: that bicycle lanes act as “magnets" to attract bicyclists to a neighborhood, rather than being the “catalyst" that encourages non-bikers to shift modes. The results have implications for planners and policymakers attempting to increase bicycling mode share via the strategic infrastructure development. (Working Paper)
- Carrion, Carlos, Nebiyou Tilahun, and David Levinson (2012) Monte Carlo Simulation of Adaptive Stated Preference Survey with a case study: Effects of Aggregate Mode Shares on Individual Mode Choice.
Monte Carlo experiments are used to study the unbiasedness of several common random utility models for a proposed adaptive stated preference survey. This survey is used to study the influence of the knowledge of existing mode shares on travelers mode choice. Furthermore, the survey is applied to a sample of subjects selected from the University of Minnesota. The results indicate that the presence of mode shares in the mode choice model does influence the decision of travelers. The estimates are found to be biased by the Monte Carlo experiments. (Working Paper)
- Giacomin, David J. and David M. Levinson (2012)Road network circuity in metropolitan areas
Circuity, the ratio of network to Euclidean distances, describes the directness of trips and the efficiency of transportation networks. This paper measures the circuity of the 51 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States and identifies trends in those circuities between 1990 and 2010. Overall circuity has increased between 1990 and 2010: random points have not only become farther apart in distance, their shortest network path has become more circuitous, suggesting that the more recently constructed parts of street networks are laid out more circuitously than older parts of the network. Over this period, 35 MSAs experienced a statistically significant increase in circuity (6 experienced a significant decrease). As expected, short trips are more circuitous than long trips. A new circuity distance decay function describes how circuity varies with distance within metropolitan areas. The parameters of this function have changed from 1990 to 2010. (Working Paper)
- Iacono, Michael, David Levinson, Ahmed El-Geneidy, and Rania Wasfi (2012) Markov Chain Model of Land Use Change in the Twin Cities
The set of models available to predict land use change in urban regions has become increasingly complex in recent years. Despite their complexity, the predictive power of these models remains relatively weak. This paper presents an example of an alternative modeling framework based on the concept of a Markov chain. The model assumes that land use at any given time, which is viewed as a discrete state, can be considered a function of only its previous state. The probability of transition between each pair of states is recorded as an element of a transition probability matrix. Assuming that this matrix is stationary over time, it can be used to predict future land use distributions from current data. To illustrate this process, a Markov chain model is estimated for the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, USA (Twin Cities) metropolitan region. Using a unique set of historical land use data covering several years between 1958 and 2005, the model is tested using historical data to predict recent conditions, and is then used to forecast the future distribution of land use decades into the future. We also use the cell-level data set to estimate the fraction of regional land use devoted to transportation facilities, including major highways, airports, and railways. The paper concludes with some comments on the strengths and weaknesses of Markov chains as a land use modeling framework, and suggests some possible extensions of the model. (Working Paper)
- Tilahun, Nebiyou and David Levinson (2009)
The Role of Job Search Methods and Contacts on Commuting and Relocation Decisions.
This paper empirically explores the relationship between (i) job finding and commuting outcomes and (ii) the relationship between job search and the commute and location outcomes of relocation decisions after finding employment. The relationship between commute outcomes when finding a new job and the job search method that one employs are explored first. That is followed by an analysis of how long one stays at their residence after finding work, and where they eventually relocate relative to their new employment site as well as their previous residence. Along with the usual socio-demographic variables, the analysis takes on the job search method as well as the local contacts that one has in their residential area as important variables informing these choices. The findings indicate that jobs found through the use of internet and newspapers were on average farther away from the searchers’ residence as compared to those found through contacts and formal means. On relocation after employment, we find that being a renter and moving to a rental unit were important in how quickly one relocated. In addition those that used the internet to find their jobs also relocated faster after controlling for demographic variables such as age. The distribution of ones social contacts were also found to be important in how far away from the previous location a person relocated.
JEL code: J61, J64, R41, R31, D83, L14, D85
Keywords: Job search, travel behavior, transport geography, commuting, relocation
- Patterson, Tyler and David Levinson (2008)
Lexus Lanes or Corolla Lanes? Spatial Use and Equity Patterns on the I-394 MnPASS Lanes.
A 2004-2006 longitudinal panel survey of I-394 residents found support levels at over 60
percent for the congestion priced High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane, known to the Twin
Cities as MnPASS. This number varies only slightly when sorted by income levels,
gender, and education levels, suggesting that the arrangement is perceived as equitable.
However, people with higher incomes use the system more often and thereby capitalize
on the direct benefit more often, a finding consistent with other studies. Previous
research has not revealed whether higher incomes actually cause people to use the
MnPASS option more often or whether HOT lanes have simply been built along high
income corridors, such as I-394. This paper aims to separate the effects of income and
location on use to provide a more robust understanding of equity concerns. Using data
provided by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Heteroskedasticity-Consistent
Method 3 (HC3) regressions, this paper suggests that location and income both explain
HOT lane use.
Keywords: Congestion Pricing, HOT Lanes, High Occupancy Toll lanes, Value Pricing, Equity, Twin Cities (Minnesota), economic evaluation
- Levinson, David, Michael Corbett, and Maryam Hashami (2005)
Operating Costs for Trucks.
This study estimates the operating costs for commercial vehicle operators in Minnesota. A
survey of firms that undertake commercial truck road movements was performed. The average
operating cost per kilometer for commercial vehicle operators was calculated from the survey
responses. Results show that the translog and Cobb-Douglas models have approximately equal
explanatory power in estimating the total cost from the data. The models also revealed the
presence of nearly constant returns to scale, a finding consistent with earlier studies; an increase
in output (total truckloads) of 1% increases total costs by 1.04%. (Working Paper).
- Levinson, David and Bhanu Yerra
How Land Use Shapes the Evolution of Road Networks.
The present research develops an agent-based model to treat the organization,
growth, and contraction of network elements. The components model travel demand,
revenue, cost, and investment. Revenue earned by links in excess of maintenance costs is
invested on the link to until all revenue is consumed. After upgrading (or downgrading)
each link in the network, the time period is incremented and the whole process is repeated
until an equilibrium is reached or it is clear that it cannot be achieved. The model is tested
with three alternative land use patterns: uniform, random, and bell-shaped, to test the
effects of land use on resulting network patterns. It is found that similar, but not identical,
equilibrium hierarchical networks result in all cases, with the bell-shaped network, with a
CBD, having higher level roads concentrated in a belt around the CBD, while the other
networks are less concentrated. (Working Paper).
- Nee, Brendan and David Levinson
Value of Information for Transit Riders.
Transit information systems are crucial for informing riders of their location,
destination, and arrival time. After reviewing and classifying the various types of transit
information systems, an adaptive stated preference survey was developed and
administered to determine the value of information for transit users. The survey
consisted of two scenarios which included a picture and a written description. In a series
of nine questions, participants were given the choice of a higher fare that included more
transit information or a lower fare with less or no information. The average increase in
fare for improved transit information was $0.83. An OLS model was developed based on
the demographic information from respondents. Females, people between the ages of 20
and 30, and those with higher income were willing to pay the most for improved transit
information. Respondents who were regular transit users and who lived far from where
they worked were willing to pay the least. (Working Paper).
- Zhang, Lei and David Levinson (2004)
Relationships between ramp metering and sprawl.
This paper explores impacts of ramp metering
on urban land use. A regression-based transportation model is developed
to capture changes in accessibility caused by ramp metering on a highway
network. A Land Use Change Indicator (LUCI) model is modified to estimate
how the spatial distribution of employment and housing would change in
response to the redistributed accessibility in five hypothetical urban
areas with various initial land use patterns. Accessibility will be improved
in almost all areas in a city with ramp metering, but meters affect land
use patterns in various ways depending on initial land use conditions.
Ramp metering can exacerbate decentralization, but not necessarily sprawl.
Keywords: Ramp metering, Land use, Urban sprawl, Decentralization (Working Paper).