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Exploring satisfaction with travel time profiles towards understanding intrinsic utilities of travel time
Travel Behaviour and Society  (IF4.983),  Pub Date : 2021-03-01, DOI: 10.1016/j.tbs.2021.02.001
Prasanna Humagain, Patrick A. Singleton

Although commuting is often viewed as a burden, transportation research has recently investigated satisfaction with commuting or commute travel times, with a goal to understand intrinsic utilities of travel time: when and for whom travel is productive or beneficial, beyond reaching a destination. However, few studies have examined perceived satisfaction with a range of travel times, and those that have only report aggregate trends. Thus, there is a need to illuminate and explain heterogeneity in travel time satisfaction profiles. By exploring individual-level responses to questions about satisfaction with hypothetical commute travel times among 588 commuters in Portland, Oregon, this study makes three contributions. First, through clustering, we identify eight different satisfaction with travel time profiles. Only one (the smallest group) has the same non-monotonic shape found in past research. Others are distinguished by different tolerable commute times: when (compared to an average/threshold commute time of 30 min) satisfaction levels drop. On this basis, we further categorize profiles into three groups: Monotonic low-tolerance (ML), Monotonic high-tolerance (MH), and Non-monotonic (NM) commuters. Second, through multinomial and ordered logit models, we determine factors associated with having a specific satisfaction profile or tolerable commute time. Significant differences are found for commute travel times (actual or ideal), mode choice (cycling), measures of intrinsic utility (satisfaction with actual commute times and the teleportation test), and a few personal characteristics (self-employment). Third, through visual comparisons, we find within-person consistency in responses to all of these questions about the intrinsic utility of travel time, supporting their use in past and future research.