Uncovering the Distribution of Motorists' Preferences for Travel Time and Reliability

Authors

  • Kenneth A. Small,

    1. Dept. Economics, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-5100, U.S.A.; ksmall@uci.edu; http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~ksmall/,
      Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, U.S.A.; cwinston@brook.edu,
      and
      Dept. of Logistics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong; lgtjiay@polyu.edu.hk.
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  • Clifford Winston,

    1. Dept. Economics, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-5100, U.S.A.; ksmall@uci.edu; http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~ksmall/,
      Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, U.S.A.; cwinston@brook.edu,
      and
      Dept. of Logistics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong; lgtjiay@polyu.edu.hk.
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  • Jia Yan

    1. Dept. Economics, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-5100, U.S.A.; ksmall@uci.edu; http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~ksmall/,
      Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, U.S.A.; cwinston@brook.edu,
      and
      Dept. of Logistics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong; lgtjiay@polyu.edu.hk.
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    • The authors are grateful to the Brookings Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy and the University of California Transportation Center for financial support. We thank Edward Sullivan for access to data collected by California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, with financial support from the California Department of Transportation and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration's Value Pricing Demonstration Program. We also are grateful for comments from David Brownstone, Jerry Hausman, Charles Lave, Steven Morrison, and Randy Pozdena; from participants in seminars at UC Irvine, Northwestern University, the American Economic Association, and the University of Maryland at College Park; and from the referees and a co-editor of this journal.


Abstract

We apply recent econometric advances to study the distribution of commuters' preferences for speedy and reliable highway travel. Our analysis applies mixed logit to combined revealed and stated preference data on commuter choices of whether to pay a toll for congestion-free express travel. We find that motorists exhibit high values of travel time and reliability, and substantial heterogeneity in those values. We suggest that road pricing policies designed to cater to such varying preferences can improve efficiency and reduce the disparity of welfare impacts compared with recent pricing experiments.

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