Student Presentations from TRB, Week 3: Positive Utility of Travel & Impact of Bike Facilities

Seminar Speaker: 
Patrick Singleton and Wei Shi, Portland State University
Seminar Cost: 
Event Date: 
Friday, February 24, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
Seminar Credit: 

View Patrick Singleton's Slides

View Wei Shi's Slides

Watch video:

Exploring the Positive Utility of Travel and Mode Choice

Civil & Environmental Engineering: Patrick Singleton

Why do people travel? We traditionally assume traveling is a means to an end, travel demand is derived (from the demand for activities), and travel time is to be minimized. Recently, scholars have questioned these axioms, noting that some people may like to travel, use travel time productively, enjoy the experience of traveling, or travel for non-utilitarian reasons. The idea that travel can provide benefits and may be motivated by factors beyond reaching activity destinations is known as “the positive utility of travel” or PUT.

This study presents a conceptual and empirical look at the positive utility of travel and its influence on travel behavior. First, PUT is linked to concepts like utility, motivation, and subjective well-being, and categorized into destination activities, travel activities (multitasking), and travel experiences. Then, preliminary results from a 2016 survey of Portland-area commuters are presented. Finally, implications of the PUT concept for transportation planning and policy are discussed.

Patrick Singleton is a PhD candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Portland State University. His research spans the areas of travel behavior, transportation planning, and travel demand modeling, with a special interest in walking and bicycling. Patrick's dissertation explores a concept known as "the positive utility of travel": studying the benefits people receive from traveling beyond simply reaching a destination, including the productive use of travel time and enjoyment of the travel experience itself. He holds a Master of Science degree from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Outside of school, you are likely to find Patrick exploring and photographing his current city.

Impact of Bike Facilities on Residential Property Prices

Urban Studies & Planning: Wei Shi

As many cities are investing in street improvement or transportation infrastructure upgrade projects to provide better bike access or more complete bike networks, the economic value of bike infrastructure and bike facilities remains an area where many practitioners, planners and policy makers are seeking more conclusive evidence. Using residential property values as indicators of consumer preferences for bicycle infrastructure, this study focuses on advanced bike facilities which represent higher levels of bike priority or bike infrastructure investments that have been shown to be more desirable to a larger portion of the population. Estimating ordinary least squares hedonic pricing models and spatial autoregressive hedonic models separately for single and multi-family properties, we find that proximity to advanced bike facilities (measured by distance) has significant and positive effects on all residential property values, highlighting household preferences for high quality bike infrastructure. Furthermore, we also show that the extensiveness of the bike network (measured by density) is a positive and statistically significant contributor to the property prices for all residential property types, even after controlling for proximity to bike facilities and other property, neighborhood and transaction characteristics. Finally, estimated coefficients are applied to assess property value impacts of a proposed Portland “Green Loop” signature bike infrastructure concept, illustrating the importance of considering both accessibility and extensiveness of bike facility networks.

Wei Shi is a PhD student in Urban Studies program at Portland State University. Studying with Dr. Jenny Liu, Wei's research focuses on transportation and economic impacts of transportation infrastructures, with a special interest in bicycling. Wei has a masters degree in Human Geography in China, and worked for AECOM as an economist for one year.