Working Papers (when not listed elsewhere)
Hover over the article title link for abstract, click for downloadable paper in pdf.
- Brosnan, M and Levinson, D. (2014) Accessibility and the Allocation of Time: Changes in Travel Behavior 1990-2010
Using detailed travel surveys conducted by the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis/St Paul (Twin Cities) Region in Minnesota for 1990, 2000-2001, and 2010-2011, this paper conducts a detailed analysis of journey-to-work times, activity allocation and accessibility. This study corroborates previous studies showing that accessibility is a significant factor in commute durations. Adjusting land use patterns to increase the number of workers in job-rich areas and the number of jobs in labor-rich areas is a reliable way of reducing auto commute durations. The finding that accessibility and commute duration have a large affect on the amount of time spent at work shows that activity patterns are influenced by transportation and the urban environment in very impactful ways. The descriptive results of this analysis show a measurable decline in the time people spend outside of their homes as well as the amount of time people spend in travel over the past decade. Although trip distances per trip are not getting any shorter, the willingness to make those trip is declining, and as a result fewer kilometers are being traveled and less time on average is being allocated to travel.(working paper)
- Di, X, Liu, H, Zhu, S, and Levinson, D. (2014) Indifference Bands for Route Switching
>Abstract: The replacement I-35W bridge in Minneapolis saw less traffic than the original bridge though it provided substantial travel time saving for many travelers. This observation cannot be explained by the classical route choice assumption that travelers always take the shortest path. Accordingly, a boundedly rational route switching model is proposed assuming that travelers will not switch to the new bridge unless travel time saving goes beyond a threshold or “indifference band”. To validate the boundedly rational route switching assumption, route choices of 78 subjects from a GPS travel behavior study were analyzed before and after the addition of the new I-35W bridge. Indifference bands are estimated for both commuters who were previously bridge users and those who never had the experience of using the old bridge. This study offers the first empirical estimation of bounded rationality parameters from GPS data and provides guidelines for traffic assignment.
Keywords: Route Choice, Travel Demand Modeling, Bounded Rationality, Indifference Band, GPS Study, Travel Behavior, Networks (working paper)
- Janson, M. and Levinson, D. (2014) Alternative High Occupancy/Toll Lane Pricing Strategies and their Effect on Market Share
High Occupancy/Toll (HOT) Lanes typically charge a varying to single occupant vehicles (SOVs), with the toll increasing during more congested periods. The toll is usually tied to time of day or to the density of vehicles in the HOT lane. The purpose of raising the toll with congestion is to discourage demand enough to maintain a high level of service (LOS) in the HOT lane. Janson and Levinson (2014) demonstrated that the HOT toll may act as a signal of downstream congestion (in both general purpose (GP) and HOT lanes), causing an increase in demand for the HOT lane, at least at lower prices. This paper builds off that research and explores alternative HOT lane pricing strategies, including the use of GP density as a factor in price to more accurately reflect the value of the HOT lane. In addition, the paper explores the potential effect these strategies would have on the HOT lane vehicle share through a partial equilibrium analysis. This analysis demonstrates the change in demand elasticity with price, showing the point at which drivers switch from a positive to negative elasticity. (working paper)
- Owen, A. and Levinson, D. (2014) Developing a Comprehensive US Transit Accessibility Database
This paper discusses the development of a national public transit accessibility evaluation framework, focusing on lessons learned, data source evaluation and selection, calculation methodology, and examples of accessibility evaluation results. In both practice and in research, accessibility evaluation remains experimental and methodologically fragmented. This heightens the “first mover” risk for agencies seeking to implement accessibility-based planning practices, as they must select a method which might produce results that can only be interpreted locally. Development of a common baseline accessibility metric could advance the use of accessibility- based planning. The accessibility evaluation framework described here builds on methods developed in earlier project, extended for use on a national scale and at the Census block level. Application on a national scale involves assembling and processing a comprehensive national database of public transit network topology and travel times. This database incorporates the significant computational advancement of calculating accessibility continuously for every minute within a departure time window of interest. Values for contiguous departure time spans can then be averaged or analyzed for variance over time. This significantly increases computational complexity, but provides a very robust representation of the interaction between transit service frequency and accessibility at multiple departure times. (working paper)
- Schoner, J., Lindsey, G., and Levinson, D. (2014) Differences Between Walking and Bicycling Over Time: Implications for Performance Measurement
Transportation policies and plans encourage non-motorized transportation and the establishment of performance measures to assess progress towards multi-modal system goals. Challenges in fostering walking and bicycling include the lack of data for measuring rates of walking and bicycling over time and differences in pedestrians and bicyclists and the trips they make. This paper analyzes travel behavior inventories conducted by the Metropolitan Council in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area in 2001 and 2010 to illuminate differences walking and bicycling over time and illustrate the implications for performance measurement. We focus on the who, what, where, when, and why of non-motorized transportation: who pedestrians and bicyclists are, where they go and why, when they travel, and what factors are associated with the trips they make. Measured by summer mode share, walking and bicycling both increased during the decade, but the differences between the modes overshadow their similarities. Using descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, and multinomial logistic models, we show that walkers are different than bicyclists, that walking trips are shorter and made for different purposes, that walking and bicycling trips differ seasonally, and that different factors are associated with the likelihoods of walking or bicycling. While the increase in mode share was greater for walking than bicycling, the percentage increase relative to 2001 share was greater for bicycling than walking. Both walking and bicycling remain mainly urban transportation options. Older age reduces the likelihood of biking trips more than walking trips, and biking remains gendered while walking is not. These differences call into question the common practice of treating nonmotorized transportation as a single mode. Managers can use these results to develop performance measures for tracking progress towards system goals in a way that addresses the unique and different needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.(working paper)
- Schoner, J, Lindsey, G., and Levinson, D. (2014) Factors Associated with the Gender Gap in Bicycling Over Time
Bicycling has grown in popularity over the past decade, but the gap in rates of bicycling between men and women in the United States (US) persists. This paper uses regional travel behavior study data from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Region in 2000 and 2010 to measure and model the gender gap in bicycling over time. Findings from a series of statistical tests show that in aggregate, women bike less than men, and that growth in bicycling has been slower for women than for men over the past decade. However, stratifying the sample shows that women who live with at least one other adult bicyclist participate in bicycling at an equal rate as men. Similarly, frequency of bicycle trips among people who participate in bicycling differed by gender only slightly in 2000, and not at all in 2010. Binary logistic modeling results show that several factors, such as age and trip purpose, are associated with different bicycling outcomes for men and women, but some commonly hypothesized explanations, such as having children, were declining in effect or altogether insignificant.
These findings and conclusions are important for practice and research because understand- ing the nuances of the gender gap, such as the apparent gap in participation but not in frequency or the contagion effect of living with a cyclist, is essential for targeting programs effectively. This paper also identifies several travel behavior data collection limitations that complicate studying the gender gap, and offers recommendations for further study. (working paper)
- Tang, W., and Levinson, D. (2014) People are not ‘rational’: An empirical study of the deviation between actual and shortest travel time paths
Abstract: Few empirical studies of revealed route characteristics have been reported in the literature. This study challenges the widely applied shortest path assumption by evaluating routes followed by residents of the Minneapolis - St. Paul metropolitan area, as measured by the GPS Component of the 2011 Twin Cities Travel Behavior Inventory. It finds that most travelers used paths longer than the shortest path. Some reasons for this are conjectured. Keywords: Rationality, Route Choice, User Equilibrium, GPS Study, Travel Behavior, Networks (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)
- 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).