Modeling Access Mode Choice for Westside Express Service Commuter Rail

DATE: 
Friday, January 7, 2011, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
SPEAKERS: 
Åsa Bergman, Portland State University

The video begins at 1:26.

Abstract: How do commuter rail riders choose access modes? This presentation discusses the results of an analysis of access mode choice by riders of one of the first U.S. suburb-to-suburb commuter railroads, the Westside Express Service (WES) in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. The study uses on-board survey data collected by the region’s transit agency, Tri-Met, during WES’s first year of operation. The data include observed access mode choices, historical mode usage, and subjective assessment of WES attributes. A hierarchical choice model was estimated, using attributes of the access trip and station areas as well as rider characteristics. The estimation results showed evidence of pre-WES mode inertia effects in choosing drive access, pro-sustainability attitudes in choosing bike access, the importance of comfort for light rail and auto access modes, as well as strong positive station-area effects of connecting bus lines and parking space provision. The hierarchical choice model revealed significant substitution effects between drive and light rail modes and between bike and walk modes. This study provides potentially valuable insights to agencies for the purposes of station-area planning and targeted marketing efforts.