Analyzing car ownership and route choices using discrete choice models

University dissertation from Institutionen för infrastruktur och samhällsplanering

Abstract: This thesis consists of two parts. The first part analyzesthe accessibility, generation and license holding effects incar ownership models. The second part develops a route choicemodeling framework with an attempt to address the differencesin drivers' route choice behavior. These two parts of work areboth based on the discrete choice theory - the car ownershipmodels are built up on the standard logit model, whereas theroute choice models are formulated in a mixed logit form.The study result of the first part shows that measuring theaccessibility by the monetary inclusive value reasonably wellcaptures the mechanism of the accessibility impact. Otheraccessibility proxies such as the parking costs, parking typeand house type are correlated with the accessibility but not toa great extent. Both young and old households are less likelyto have a car. The reduction of the propensity to own a car issignificant for households with average birth year before 1920,whereas this reduction is moderate for households with birthyear between 1920 and 1945. It is also demonstrated thatdriving license holding choice is conditional on the carownership level choice, and that these two choices need to bemodeled in a dynamic framework.The second part of the work investigates the performance ofthe mixed logit model using both simulated data and empiricalroute switching data. The empirical study mainly focused on theimpacts of information and incident related factors on drivers'route switching behavior.The result shows that using mixed logit gives a significantimprovement in model performance as well as a more sensitiveexplanation of drivers' decision-making behavior. For apopulation with greatly varying tastes, simply using thestandard logit model to analyze its behavior can yield veryunrealistic results. However, care must be taken when settingthe number of random draws for simulating the choiceprobability of the mixed logit model in order to get reliableestimates.The empirical results demonstrate that incident relatedfactors such as delay and information reliability havesignificant impacts on drivers' route switching, where themagnitude of the response to the change in the delay is shownto vary significantly between individuals. Other factors, suchas confidence in the estimated delay, gender, frequency of cardriving and attitude towards congestion, also make majorcontributions. In addition, it is found that individual's routeswitching behavior may differ depending on the purpose of thetrip and when the choice is made, i.e. pre-trip oren-route.Keywords: car ownership, accessibility, logit model,route choice, heterogeneity, mixed logit model