This project was completed as a National Center for Sustainable Transportation graduate student research project at the University of Vermont. The work builds on the prior work of Dr. Brian H. Y. Lee and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation graduate student Sean Neely who focused on travel behavior between non-metropolitan areas and large metropolitan centers, because of its impacts on quality of life, multimodal planning, and rural economies.
This project studies travel from home locations in northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, excluding the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy Metropolitan Statistical Area), going to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Data were collected in The Intercity Travel, Information, and Technology Survey Questionnaire conducted by Resource Systems Group (RSG Inc.) for the University of Vermont’s Transportation Research Center (UVM TRC) and the New England Transportation Institute (NETI), with funding from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) NCST in May 2014. A total of 2560 valid survey responses were collected using a paid panel purchased by the consultant. In his Master’s thesis, Neely developed generic mode choice models for these intercity trips but lacked the mode-specific travel times and access measures for more advanced mode choice models. The goal of this current project was to perform more advanced spatial data re-tabulation to generate new mode-specific predictor variables, especially measures of air access using Federal Aviation Administration datasets. The internet access measures were also refined and alternative measures of a zip code location’s ruralness were generated. Zip code home location was used for generation of on-road travel times and distances to destination as well as an Amtrak station access measure.
In addition to the data development, some specific research questions were pursued with the data: 1) How many trips per year do rural residents take in the Northeast United States to major metropolitan areas? And 2) What socio-economic, location, and accessibility variables are associated with rural trip generation to metropolitan areas?