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Treatment of reference alternatives in stated choice surveys for air travel choice behaviour


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  • Hess, Stephane
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    With the need for accurate forecasts of passenger demand, the airline sector is increasingly making use of behavioural models calibrated on data from stated choice surveys that allow for the analysis of hypothetical travel situations. To allow analysts to better frame the scenarios presented to respondents, the choice situations in such stated choice surveys often include a current trip as one of the travel options. Classically, these reference alternatives have been treated in the same way as the hypothetical alternatives. The applications presented in this paper show that this potentially leads to biased results, and that it is important to recognise the differences in the nature of the two types of alternatives.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Air Transport Management.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 275-279

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:14:y:2008:i:5:p:275-279

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    Keywords: Discrete choice; Logit; Air travel behaviour; Stated choice; Stated preference;


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    1. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, Spring.
    2. Proussaloglou, Kimon & Koppelman, Frank S., 1999. "The choice of air carrier, flight, and fare class," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 193-201.
    3. Hess, Stephane & Adler, Thomas & Polak, John W., 2007. "Modelling airport and airline choice behaviour with the use of stated preference survey data," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 221-233, May.
    4. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Sotirios Thanos & Mark Wardman & Abigail Bristow, 2011. "Valuing Aircraft Noise: Stated Choice Experiments Reflecting Inter-Temporal Noise Changes from Airport Relocation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(4), pages 559-583, December.
    2. Masiero, Lorenzo & Rose, John M., 2013. "The role of the reference alternative in the specification of asymmetric discrete choice models," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 83-92.
    3. Hess, Stephane, 2010. "Evidence of passenger preferences for specific types of airports," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 191-195.
    4. Nicolau, Juan Luis, 2011. "Testing prospect theory in airline demand," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 241-243.
    5. Stathopoulos, Amanda & Hess, Stephane, 2012. "Revisiting reference point formation, gains–losses asymmetry and non-linear sensitivities with an emphasis on attribute specific treatment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1673-1689.
    6. Hess, Stephane & Adler, Thomas, 2011. "An analysis of trends in air travel behaviour using four related SP datasets collected between 2000 and 2005," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 244-248.
    7. Grimme, Wolfgang, 2011. "The growth of Arabian airlines from a German perspective – A study of the impacts of new air services to Asia," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 333-338.
    8. Amanda Stathopoulos & Stephane Hess, 2011. "Referencing, Gains-Losses Asymmetry And Non-Linear Sensitivities In Commuter Decisions: One Size Does Not Fit All!," Working Papers 0511, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2011.


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