UC Davis researchers developed a cost model of travel choices that individuals make related to urban vehicle travel. These choices can include deciding to own, ride in, and drive a private vehicle or use pooled or solo ridesourcing (e.g., Uber). The model considers both monetary and non-monetary factors that affect travel choice. Monetary factors include the costs of purchasing, maintaining, and fueling different types of privately owned vehicles; and the cost of using ridesourcing services. Non-monetary (or “hedonic”) factors include travel time, parking time/inconvenience, willingness to drive or be a passenger in a driven or automated vehicle, and willingness to travel with strangers. The travel choices affected by these factors impact broader society through traffic congestion, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, accidents, etc. and thus may be an important focus of policy.
The project involved convening focus groups and administering a pilot survey (sample size, 37) of professionals (21 to 47 years). This group reflected a convenience sample and one that is relatively likely to have experience with ridesharing and an awareness of automated vehicle concepts. The discussions and surveys were focused on commuting trips.
A set of hypothetical trip situations were presented to participants, with trip characteristics varying by:
- Trip time uncertainty (minimum/maximum trip time range)
- Maximum number of other passengers allowed on trip
- Trip cost
- Whether driven or automated vehicle trip
The research was undertaken in two parts, with a qualitative and quantitative (survey) component.