Bottleneck model revisited: An activity-based perspective

Zhi Chun Li, Hing Keung William Lam, S. C. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The timing of commuting trips made during morning and evening peaks has typically been investigated using Vickrey's bottleneck model. However, in the conventional trip-based approach, the decisions that commuters make during the day about their activity schedules and time use are not explicitly considered. This study extends the bottleneck model to address the scheduling problem of commuters' morning home-to-work and evening work-to-home journeys by using an activity-based approach. A day-long activity-travel scheduling model is proposed for the simultaneous determination of departure times for morning and evening commutes, together with allocations of time during the day among travel and activities undertaken at home or at the workplace. The proposed model maximizes the total net utility of the home-based tour, which is the difference between the benefits derived from participating in activities and the disutility incurred by travel between activity locations. The properties of the model solution are analytically explored and compared with the conventional bottleneck model for a special case with constant marginal-activity utility. For the case with linear marginal-activity utility, we develop a heuristic procedure to seek the equilibrium scheduling solution. We also explore the effects of marginal-work utility (or the employees' average wage level) and of flexible work-hour schemes on the scheduling problem in relation to the morning and evening commuting tours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-287
Number of pages26
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Activity-based approach
  • Bottleneck model
  • Flexible work-hour scheme
  • Marginal-activity utility function
  • Tour
  • Trip-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation


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