A study of university student travel behavior

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Institutions of higher education, particularly those with large student enrollments, constitute special generators that contribute in a variety of ways to the travel demand in a region. Despite the importance

Institutions of higher education, particularly those with large student enrollments, constitute special generators that contribute in a variety of ways to the travel demand in a region. Despite the importance of university population travel characteristics in understanding and modeling activity-travel patterns and mode choice behavior in a region, such populations remain under-studied. As metropolitan planning organizations continue to improve their regional travel models by incorporating processes and parameters specific to major regional special generators, university population travel characteristics need to be measured and special submodels that capture their behavior need to be developed. The research presented herein begins by documenting the design and administration of a comprehensive university student online travel and mode use survey that was administered at Arizona State University (ASU) in the Greater Phoenix region of Arizona. The dissertation research offers a detailed statistical analysis of student travel behavior for different student market segments. A framework is then presented for incorporating university student travel into a regional travel demand model. The application of the framework to the ASU student population is documented in detail. A comprehensive university student submodel was estimated and calibrated for integration with the full regional travel model system. Finally, student attitudes toward travel are analyzed and used as explanatory factors in multinomial logit models of mode choice. This analysis presents an examination of the extent to which attitudes play a role in explaining mode choice behavior of university students in an urban setting. The research provides evidence that student travel patterns vary substantially from those of the rest of the population, and should therefore be considered separately when forecasting travel demand and formulating transport policy in areas where universities are major contributors to regional travel.