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The positive utility of the commute: modeling ideal commute time and relative desired commute amount

  • Lothlorien Redmond


  • Patricia Mokhtarian


Two measures of commute time preferences – Ideal Commute Time and Relative Desired Commute amount (a variable indicating the desire to commute “much less†to “much more†than currently) – are modeled, using tobit and ordered probit, respectively. Ideal Commute Time was found to be positively related to Actual Commute Time and to a liking and utility for commuting, and negatively related to commute frequency and to a family/community-oriented lifestyle. Relative Desired Commute, on the other hand, was negatively related to amounts of actual commute and work-related travel, but positively related to travel liking and a measure of commute benefit. Overall, commute time is not unequivocally a source of disutility to be minimized but rather offers some benefits (such as a transition between home and work). Most people have a non-zero optimum commute time, which can be violated in either direction – i.e. it is possible (although comparatively rare, occurring for only 7% of the sample) to commute too little. On the other hand, a large proportion of people (52% of the sample) are commuting longer than they would like, and hence would presumably be receptive to reducing (although usually not eliminating) that commute.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Transportation.

Volume (Year): 28 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 179-205

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Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:28:y:2001:i:2:p:179-205
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  1. Redmond, Lothlorien, 2000. "Identifying and Analyzing Travel-Related Attitudinal, Personality, and Lifestyle Clusters in the San Francisco Bay Area," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt0317h7v4, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  2. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Salomon, Ilan, 1997. "Modeling the Desire to Telecommute: The Importance of Attitudinal Factors in Behavioral Models," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt29z267km, University of California Transportation Center.
  3. Veall, Michael R & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1994. "Goodness of Fit Measures in the Tobit Model," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(4), pages 485-99, November.
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