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Valuing Time and Reliability: Commuters' Mode Choice from a Real Time Congestion Pricing Experiment


  • Ghosh, Arindam


The valuation of travel time savings has been an important theme in transportation research because it is the single largest contributor to the benefits of many transportation projects. It also plays a central role in deciding about the size and scope of public investment and has important welfare implications. It can shed important light as to whether any congestion pricing scheme will have increase social welfare or not. And help us understand how commuters make their travel decisions. The San Diego I-15 Congestion Pricing Project (SDCPP) is a demonstration project where an existing High Occupancy Vehicle lane has converted to HOT (High Occupancy/Toll) lane. Beginning in 1996 these lanes were made available to solo drivers who pay a toll. The toll adjusts every six minutes to maintain free flowing traffic on the HOT lane. Carpoolers get to use the lane for free as before. This presents us with a unique opportunity to study commuters’ choice between a tolled and a free alternative based on not only what the commuters say they would do (SP), but also on what they actually did (RP). The general result is that this tolled facility is used by high income, middle aged, homeowners, female commuters. An interesting result that comes out of this analysis is the dual effects of toll. If the actual toll rises above the mean toll then the commuter is more likely to take the FasTrak lane. Another interesting implication that the effect of toll is conditional on the level of uncertainty of travel time and conversely uncertainty in travel time encourages use of FasTrak lane only if toll rises above a threshold value. Commuters are more sensitive to variations in travel time in the morning, specially during the peak, than in the afternoon. Another salient result is that the Value of Time estimates from Stated Preference models are significantly lower than the Revealed Preference estimates. The difference is consistent and persistent across the different models which lead to the conclusion that these differences are real. Probably it reflects the difference in responses of individuals to actual and hypothetical situations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghosh, Arindam, 2001. "Valuing Time and Reliability: Commuters' Mode Choice from a Real Time Congestion Pricing Experiment," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt9fz0z9kq, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt9fz0z9kq

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    Cited by:

    1. Steimetz, Seiji S.C. & Brownstone, David, 2005. "Estimating commuters' "value of time" with noisy data: a multiple imputation approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 865-889, December.
    2. Carrion, Carlos & Levinson, David, 2012. "Value of travel time reliability: A review of current evidence," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 720-741.
    3. Yin-Yen Tseng, 2004. "A meta-analysis of travel time reliability," ERSA conference papers ersa04p415, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Barry Ubbels & Yin-Yen Tseng & Erik T. Verhoef, 2005. "Value of time, schedule delay and reliability - estimates based on choice behaviour of Dutch commuters facing congestion," ERSA conference papers ersa05p202, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Rong-Chang Jou & Tzu-Ying Chen, 2015. "External Costs to Parties Involved in Highway Traffic Accidents: The Perspective of Highway Users," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-23, June.
    6. Brownstone, David & Small, Kenneth A., 2005. "Valuing time and reliability: assessing the evidence from road pricing demonstrations," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 279-293, May.
    7. Janson, Michael & Levinson, David, 2014. "HOT or not," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 21-32.
    8. Hossan, Md Sakoat & Asgari, Hamidreza & Jin, Xia, 2016. "Investigating preference heterogeneity in Value of Time (VOT) and Value of Reliability (VOR) estimation for managed lanes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 638-649.
    9. Steimetz, Siji S.C. & Brownstone, David, 2004. "Estimating Commuters' "Value of Time" and Noisy Data: a Multiple Imputation Approach," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4qh7m2d0, University of California Transportation Center.
    10. Dixit, Vinayak V. & Harb, Rami C. & Martínez-Correa, Jimmy & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2015. "Measuring risk aversion to guide transportation policy: Contexts, incentives, and respondents," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 15-34.
    11. Sunil Patil & Mark Burris & W. Douglass Shaw & Sisinnio Concas, 2011. "Variation in the value of travel time savings and its impact on the benefits of managed lanes," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(6), pages 547-567, June.
    12. Peer, Stefanie & Knockaert, Jasper & Koster, Paul & Verhoef, Erik T., 2014. "Over-reporting vs. overreacting: Commuters’ perceptions of travel times," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 476-494.
    13. Krčál, Ondřej & Peer, Stefanie & Staněk, Rostislav & Karlínová, Bára, 2019. "Real consequences matter: Why hypothetical biases in the valuation of time persist even in controlled lab experiments," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    14. Hensher, David A., 2010. "Hypothetical bias, choice experiments and willingness to pay," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 735-752, July.
    15. Seiji S. C. Steimetz, 2009. "White‐Knuckle Externalities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 304-316, April.
    16. van Loon, Ruben & Rietveld, Piet & Brons, Martijn, 2011. "Travel-time reliability impacts on railway passenger demand: a revealed preference analysis," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 917-925.
    17. Steimetz, Seiji S.C., 2008. "Defensive driving and the external costs of accidents and travel delays," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 703-724, November.
    18. Varotto, Silvia F. & Glerum, Aurélie & Stathopoulos, Amanda & Bierlaire, Michel & Longo, Giovanni, 2017. "Mitigating the impact of errors in travel time reporting on mode choice modelling," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 236-246.
    19. Michael Janson & David Levinson, 2013. "HOT or Not: Driver Elasticity to Price on the MnPASS HOT Lanes," Working Papers 000111, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    20. Peer, Stefanie & Knockaert, Jasper & Koster, Paul & Tseng, Yin-Yen & Verhoef, Erik T., 2013. "Door-to-door travel times in RP departure time choice models: An approximation method using GPS data," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 134-150.
    21. Carlos Carrion & Nebiyou Tilahun & David Levinson, 2011. "Monte Carlo Simulation of Adaptive Stated Preference Survey with a case study: Effects of Aggregate Mode Shares on Individual Mode Choice," Working Papers 000093, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    22. Tao, Xuezong & Zhu, Lichao, 2020. "Meta-analysis of value of time in freight transportation: A comprehensive review based on discrete choice models," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 213-233.
    23. Abulibdeh, Ammar & Zaidan, Esmat, 2018. "Analysis of factors affecting willingness to pay for high-occupancy-toll lanes: Results from stated-preference survey of travelers," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 91-105.
    24. Dixit, Vinayak & Jian, Sisi & Hassan, Asif & Robson, Edward, 2019. "Eliciting perceptions of travel time risk and exploring its impact on value of time," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 36-45.

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