Time, Travel, and Traffic

Levinson : Warren Lecture Series: Time, Travel, and Traffic

Time, its perception, and its valuation are central to traveler decision-making. This presentation reports on a series of experiments and analyses to uncover how individual travelers value and perceive time under alternative conditions. Using data from stated preference studies, driving simulators, field experiments, and revealed choice monitored using GPS, we are able to ascertain differences in valuation of time and errors in the perception of travel time that affect behavior and may explain some of the difficulties in modeling human behavior and challenge underlying but unvalidated assumptions.

This was live last Friday (Feb 11, 2011), a replay will be available here soon.
The slides can be downloaded.

Americans rank transportation needs high but don’t want to pay the costs

WaPo reports on a Rockefeller Foundation survey: Americans rank transportation needs high but don’t want to pay the costs

The Rockefeller Foundation infrastructure survey found … Seventy-one percent opposed a gas tax increase, 64 percent were against new tolls on existing roads and bridges, and 58 percent said no to paying for each mile they drive.
While 66 percent said they thought spending on infrastructure is important, the same number of those surveyed said the government didn’t spend transportation money efficiently.

In other news, people want both a free lunch and a free ride. This is the problem with opinion polls, the choices need to be spelled out, e.g.
Which would you rather have: roads with 2 more potholes per mile, or a 5c/gallon increase in the gas tax.
Which would you rather have, a 1 percent chance the bridge you are on will collapse in the next year, or a 5c /gallon increase in the gas tax.
This is called stated preference analysis, and it is used in serious research.
Then people could make choices about the value of the risk and inconvenience before them. Otherwise of course people oppose taxes, and of course people don’t trust other people to spend their money.