The Rational Locator Reexamined
The Rational Locator Hypothesis posits that individuals can, if they choose, maintain approximately steady journey-to-work travel times by adjusting their home and workplace. This hypothesis was coupled with the observation of long-term stability in drive alone journey-to-work times in metropolitan Washington (those times were unchanged from 1957 through 1968 to 1988). Despite the increase of average commuting distance and congestion, trip duration remained constant or even declined when controlling for travel purpose and travel mode because of shifting a share of traffic from slow urban routes to faster suburban routes. This observation has significance, as it is important to know for travel demand analysis if there is an underlying budget, or even a regularity, as this helps us determine whether our forecasts are reasonable. To retest the underlying rationale for the hypothesis: that travel times are stable, both intra-metropolitan and inter-metropolitan comparisons of travel times are made. The intra-metropolitan analysis compared Washington DC data from 1968, 1988, and 1994, and Twin Cities data from 1990 and 2000. The results depend upon geography. For the larger Washington DC region, keeping the same geography shows little change in commute times, but using the larger 1994 area suggests an increase in commute times.However, the Twin Cities, starting from a much shorter commute time, shows a marked increase over the decade, using either the smaller or the larger geography. To explain the differences between the two areas, an inter-metropolitan analysis conducts a series of regressions on mean metropolitan travel time for the 65 largest metropolitan areas in theUnited States. The average commute time varies (positively) in these cities as a function of congestion and population density-both significant at the 99 percent confidence interval.Geographical area, population, and income were also significant at the 90 percent confidence interval. Despite the continuing observation of stability in drive alone commuting times in metropolitan Washington, we reject the theory of personal commuting budgets, as we find that not only are commuting times not generally stable over time at the intra-metropolitan area, but that commuting time clearly depends on metropolitan spatial structure.
|Date of creation:||2005|
|Publication status:||Published in Transportation 32 187-202|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455|
Phone: +01 (612) 625-6354
Fax: +01 (612) 626-7750
Web page: http://nexus.umn.edu
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David Levinson, 1997. "Job and Housing Tenure and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199702, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
- Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Chen, Cynthia, 2004. "TTB or not TTB, that is the question: a review and analysis of the empirical literature on travel time (and money) budgets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 38(9-10), pages 643-675.
- Jos van Ommeren, 1998. "On-the-Job Search Behavior: The Importance of Commuting Time," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(4), pages 526-540.
- Lothlorien Redmond & Patricia Mokhtarian, 2001. "The positive utility of the commute: modeling ideal commute time and relative desired commute amount," Transportation, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 179-205, May.
- Hansen, Mark & Huang, Yuanlin, 1997. "Road supply and traffic in California urban areas," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 205-218, May.
- David Levinson & Seshasai Kanchi, 2002. "Road Capacity and the Allocation of Time," Working Papers 200203, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
- Rouwendal, Jan, 1999. "Spatial job search and commuting distances," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 491-517, July.
- Robert Noland & William Cowart, 2000. "Analysis of Metropolitan Highway Capacity and the growth in vehicle miles of travel," Transportation, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 363-390, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:rationallocatorreexamined. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Levinson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.