Improving travel quality of low-income commuters in China: Demand-side perspective

Long Cheng, Xuewu Chen, William H.K. Lam, Shuo Yang, Pengfei Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Low-income residents can depend on fewer travel options and have restricted mobility. This paper analyzes low-income commuters’ mode choice behavior by using data from an activity-based travel survey in Fushun, China. An integrated choice and latent variable model is presented. The model uses the following latent attitudes: comfort, convenience, reliability, flexibility, safety, and environmental preferences. The inclusion of attitudes captures unobserved heterogeneity of the choice process with a better understanding of travel demands. Postestimation of the integrated model is applied to assess the responsiveness of preferences for various transportation modes to changes in policy-relevant variables. This assessment is done by calculating the elasticity and marginal effects of choice probabilities for the relevant attributes of travel preferences. The analysis indicates that individuals with high comfort preferences care more about walking environment, and they need solutions to enhance their walking experience. However, travelers preferring reliability are more likely to travel by public transit, and measures to inform commuters of real-time bus operation information were proposed. Commuters who emphasize environmental preference are more apt to cycle; therefore, probike strategies are recommended. Results of the analysis indicate that different actions should be taken to serve different preferences. The findings should be useful information for policy makers and transportation planners wanting to improve low-income commuters’ travel quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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